Stuck in Circle K, witness recounts officer-involved shooting sc - Tucson News Now

Stuck in Circle K, witness recounts officer-involved shooting scene

Witness to the officer involved shooting, Gene Renfro (Source: Tucson News Now) Witness to the officer involved shooting, Gene Renfro (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

He was one of 11 people in the midtown Tucson convenience store as chaos unfolded outside the glass.

It's a work day Gene Renfro will never forget, as he packed up his pop-up tent for his Stand Up Wireless business on the corner of Grant Road and Alvernon Way. It was also a moment for him to decompress emotionally from the scary scene.

"I heard the officer yell 'freeze!' I looked over and saw the other officer hit him with a Taser. Evidently, he dropped his knife and went down and then got back up. The other officer took a step back and yelled 'freeze' again. I guess the guy evidently kept going because they fired two shots," Renfro told Tucson News Now.

His work partner saw and heard an officer fire the shots. Portions of the intersection were closed Tuesday afternoon, May 8, following the deadly officer-involved shooting

"(The suspect) was flagging down vehicles. Trying to talk to people in their vehicles, yelling that he was going to stab somebody," said Tucson Police Department Sergeant Pete Dugan. "As they got close to the front doors of the Circle K, that's where the confrontation started. One of the officers fired."

Renfro had a front row seat.

"(I was) getting soda. Getting soda for my partner and I, and all this happened. I'm like, okay," he said.

He was inside, and was one of several witness caught in the dangerous situation, close enough to see the suspect's weapon.

"Yeah, the knife was about that long. It had at least a 12-14-inch blade on it," Renfro said, holding up his hands.

The aftermath of the officer-involved shooting was taxing on those who saw it. When Renfro talked to Tucson News Now, it was three hours after the 1 p.m. reported shooting. 

Renfro spent those three hours stuck inside the Circle K convenience store, unable to leave or go in and out, as he was a witness among the other eight customers and two store clerks.

"Nobody was talking," he said. "We weren't allowed to talk to each other. We couldn't talk to each other at all. We had to remain separated and silent until the detectives talked to us."

What he saw was valuable information to police who were investigating. He gave detectives his statement and was allowed to leave the scene.

Renfro said the suspect never made any attempt to get at them inside the store.

At the end of his work day, he's even putting himself in the officers' shoes.

"They feared for their lives and I don't blame them," he said. "After seeing the knife I would've done the same thing."

Police have identified the suspect but have not released his name, pending notification of next-of-kin. He was transported by ambulance to Banner University Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Police have not released the names of the two officers involved in the altercation, including the officer who fired the fatal shots.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Tucson teen wins gold at X Games 2018

    Tucson teen wins gold at X Games 2018

    Monday, July 23 2018 2:58 AM EDT2018-07-23 06:58:59 GMT
    Liam Pace showing off his gold medal (Source: Liam Pace)Liam Pace showing off his gold medal (Source: Liam Pace)

    A 17-year-old Tucson native won a gold medal at X Games in Minneapolis Friday, July 20. 

    A 17-year-old Tucson native won a gold medal at X Games in Minneapolis Friday, July 20. 

  • Campaign underway to register 200K new voters in Arizona

    Campaign underway to register 200K new voters in Arizona

    Sunday, July 22 2018 11:53 PM EDT2018-07-23 03:53:12 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    A group aimed at getting more people to vote in Arizona is on a mission to register thousands of new voters by this fall.  ONE Arizona announced the launch of the statewide effort earlier this month. The goal is to have 200,000 new voters registered by the November midterms. Pima County plays a role in that with a goal of 30,000 new registered voters.

    A group aimed at getting more people to vote in Arizona is on a mission to register thousands of new voters by this fall.  ONE Arizona announced the launch of the statewide effort earlier this month. The goal is to have 200,000 new voters registered by the November midterms. Pima County plays a role in that with a goal of 30,000 new registered voters.

  • BREAKING

    BREAKING: Man killed & deputies identified in shooting in Casino Del Sol parking lot on Saturday night

    BREAKING: Man killed & deputies identified in shooting in Casino Del Sol parking lot on Saturday night

    Sunday, July 22 2018 11:50 PM EDT2018-07-23 03:50:14 GMT
    An armed suspect was killed Saturday night in a deputy-involved shooting in a parking lot outside of a casino in Pima County. (Source: Tucson News Now)An armed suspect was killed Saturday night in a deputy-involved shooting in a parking lot outside of a casino in Pima County. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    Late Saturday, July 21, 39-year-old Vincent James Ewer II died in a deputy-involved shooting in a parking lot at Casino Del Sol. 

    Late Saturday, July 21, 39-year-old Vincent James Ewer II died in a deputy-involved shooting in a parking lot at Casino Del Sol. 

Powered by Frankly