Two Dead and One Police Officer Injured After Graduation Party Turns Deadly

May 23, 2009

On May 23, 2009 at approximately 11:30 p.m. officers responded to the 2400 block of West Javelina Avenue in reference to several shots fired calls. The first two officers on scene were immediately met with gunfire. Two patrol vehicles were struck and one officer suffered a gun shot wound to his left arm. Responding officers were able to rescue the injured officer as the suspect entered the home and barricaded himself. Several victims fled the scene prior to police arrival and were later contacted.

It was learned that two victims were dead and six others suffered minor injuries. The injured officer is being treated at a local hospital and his injuries are considered to be non-life threatening. No other officers were injured during this incident.

Negotiators made contact with the 37-year-old suspect, who refused to exit the residence. After more than two hours of negotiations, the suspect exited the residence and was taken into custody without incident.

Preliminary information indicates there was a high school graduation party at the home on Javelina Avenue. The suspect, who was an invited guest at the party, was involved in an altercation with one of the deceased victims, believed to be his ex-wife. The suspect walked way from the home and retrieved a handgun from his parked vehicle. Shortly after, the suspect returned and began shooting, killing the 38-year-old female and a 32-year-old male.

There were several other victims in this incident; their injuries appear to be very minor and may have been caused by bullet fragmentation. Two of the victims were juvenile boys, ages 8 and 10.



May 25, 2009

The suspect in this case, Brent M. Banks, has been booked on the following charges: First Degree Murder (two counts); Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon upon a Police Officer (two counts); Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Minor (two counts); Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (five counts); Kidnapping (one count).

The two victims who were killed during this incident have been identified as Sally S. Johnson-Huddleston (38 years old) and Auston G. Blanks (32 years old).

The other victims with injuries from the incident have also been identified:  Officer Cervantes (two years with the Mesa Police Department); an 8- and a 10-year-old male; Michael Oates (18 years old); Daniel McDonald (20 years old); Zachary Thorstad (20 years old).

It has been reported that Brent Banks and Sally Johnson-Huddleston had been married. We have confirmed they were never married.  During interviews, Brent Banks claimed the shooting of Sally and Auston was motivated by jealousy. After observing the two victims together, Brent Banks  physically assaulted Sally Johnson-Huddleston in the front yard of the home. He then walked to his truck and retrieved two loaded hand guns from inside the vehicle and returned to the front yard where he shot both victims. He stated that when he observed the patrol vehicles responding with their emergency lights on, he fired at them to scare them.

Officer Cervantes remains hospitalized for the injury to his left arm, but is expected to make a full recovery after several surgeries to repair the physical damage to his arm.



Mesa Police Department
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PO Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211

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