Unarmed, Sobbing Daniel Shaver Shot Five Times — Cop Now Charged With Murder

On the night of January 8, Daniel Shaver was reportedly seen brandishing a rifle in front of his La Quinta hotel window, frightening other guests. So an employee called 911.

“We’ve got some scared people,” the employee said, AZ Central reported.

“A couple of the guests… they’ve come to me and they’ve told me that somebody is pointing a rifle outside of one of the windows in our building,”

The employee gave the dispatcher Shaver’s room number, and officers were dispatched to the scene. Not long afterward, Daniel, 26, would be dead, his body riddled with five bullets.

The rifle Shaver was reportedly carrying was a pellet gun, the New York Daily News reported. It’s not clear whether Daniel pointed the pellet gun out of the window or simply held it in front of the window where people could see him.

Since the shooting, the Mesa Police Department has released a narrative of footage taken by the shooting officer’s body cam (but won’t release the actual video), 911 recordings, and photos. Prosecutors, who concluded that the shooting wasn’t justified, have also charged the cop, 25-year-old Phillip Brailsford, with second-degree murder. He’s also been fired.

Daniel Shaver was killed while kneeling on the ground in his hotel room, facing cops in the hallway outside. He was struck five times, and an autopsy report revealed his injuries: one in the chest and a grazing wound, another in his right leg, two in the back of his neck, and a final one in the left side of his back, KPNX reported.

The evening began innocently enough. Shaver was from Texas and was visiting Mesa, Arizona, on business, BBC News reported. Daniel’s job involved shooting birds that wander into Walmart, which he explained to two friends he met while out on the town that night.

The trio were in his hotel room — Shaver and an unnamed man and woman — talking and drinking rum. At one point, one of them asked about a case in the room, which they thought contained a musical instrument. Daniel opened the case to reveal the pellet gun, removing it to show them.

By the time police arrived, the man had left and the gun had been stored away. Shaver was unarmed. The woman was taken into custody, and Daniel was ordered to his knees and to put his hands on his head, according to a report.

“Shaver was co-operative, but sometimes confused by the commands and because of his possible intoxication. The sergeant told Shaver that if he put his hands behind his back then he would be shot.”

Police told Shaver that if he did anything that looked like a threat, he “may not survive.” Daniel then made small jerking motions behind his back, and an officer yelled at him “if you do that again, we are shooting you. Do you understand?”

At this point, Shaver was frightened, and the body cam footage captured the young father sobbing and begging for his life.

“No, please don’t shoot me,” Daniel could be heard saying.

He reportedly complied with all orders given to him by the police, even one to crawl toward the officers, which he did while crying. But then, Brailsford claims his hand moved to his waist.

Another officer yelled, “Don’t!”

Then the fatal shots rang out.

According to ABC 15, the cop told investigators that he believed he moved forward to get a “better firing position on us.” The officer was frightened because he couldn’t see Daniel’s right hand and believed he was going to draw a weapon on officers.

“So that’s when I assessed the threat. I fired my weapon, uh, five times.”

Police now believe that Shaver was trying to pull up his shorts when shot. The cop’s attorney, Craig Mehrens, said that Brailsford is being judged on a split-second decision and accused the now-dead Shaver of disobeying orders and being drunk.

The autopsy found ethyl alcohol in his system.

Further, the police union is standing by the cop, saying he did nothing wrong that night in January and blamed and unspecified “pressure” for the filing of charges, AZ Family added.

“I’m amazed that the county attorney’s office chose to press charges against Officer Brailsford because everything in this report supports his statements about what he saw and supports the actions that he took.”

Meanwhile, Daniel’s widow, Laney Sweet, wants the body cam footage released so “everyone can see how ridiculous and outrageous this is,” her lawyer said.

[Image via Steve Heap/Shutterstock]

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