Man shot to death in Mesa driveway
By Katie McDevitt
Peggy Abel knew something "really bad" was happening Sunday night in her usually quiet Mesa neighborhood.
The mother of seven heard screams and someone saying "stop hitting me," so she sent her teenage son out to their backyard to investigate.
"He came back in and said, 'We gotta call 911!' " Abel said.
Then, she heard the gunshots.
"Pop, pop, pop," Abel said. "There was a man standing in the middle of the street and a lady screaming 'You blanking killed him.' "
Police arrived in the 3900 block of East Hampton Circle, near Val Vista Drive and U.S. 60, about 11 p.m., just as the shooting occurred. Officers found that the 29-year-old boyfriend of a neighborhood woman had been shot and killed by a 49-year-old homeowner who lives nearby.
The homeowner had come outside after hearing the man and his girlfriend yelling at each other in the front yard.
Although police have stopped short of using the term self-defense, they said the homeowner shot and killed the man because he was "going crazy" with a billiards stick and charged at the homeowner.
The man was found dead on the homeowner's driveway.
"As far as coming out with a gun, he was well within his rights," said Detective Chris Arvayo, Mesa police spokesman. "He was in his yard. He never left his property. He came out with a gun, which is his constitutional right."
Mesa police haven't released the name of the man who was killed, pending notification of his family. Police also wouldn't release the name of the shooter. No charges have been recommended against the shooter, Arvayo said, but the case will be forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review.
"He's not in custody right now," Arvayo said.
Police also said that they learned after the shooting that the man had been hitting things inside his girlfriend's house before he went outside and caused a disturbance.
Abel said she used the incident as an opportunity to talk with her children about anger management.
"That's very tragic," Abel said. "It's senseless."