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PCAO reviews officer involved shooting

Three people were killed and several others were hurt in a mass shooting in Tucson Sunday, July...
Three people were killed and several others were hurt in a mass shooting in Tucson Sunday, July 18. Leslie Stephen Scarlett, the suspect, also died.(KOLD News 13)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 12:46 PM MST|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 2:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Tucson police officer who fatally shot mass shooting suspect Leslie Stephen Scarlett was justified in doing so, prosecutors determined.

Dan South, Chief of the Criminal Division of the Pima County Attorney’s Office, said the actions of officer Danny Leon followed state law and the shooting was justified.

After an officer-involved shooting, it is common for prosecutors to review the incident, even if evidence makes it clear the officer has no criminal intent.

The 35-year-old Scarlett died July 21, three days after allegedly going on a crime spree that left three people dead and several others injured.

According to the TPD, the incident began when a home near South Campbell Avenue and East Irene Vista was set on fire. The body of Scarlett’s fiancee Jennifer Fells was found in the home later and she had been shot.

After that, Scarlett went to Silverlake Park and allegedly shot two EMTs who were there for an unrelated call.

Jacob Dindinger, 20, was shot in the head and died July 29.

Cassandra Moreno, 21, was hit in the arm and chest but survived. She was able to call police, give them Scarlett’s description and render aid to Dindinger.

Scarlett then returned to the home and allegedly opened fire at the crews battling the house fire, as well as good Samaritans who were trying to help put out the flames.

A captain with the Tucson Fire Department was injured in the shooting but is expected to make a full recovery. His name has not been released to the public.

Cory Michael Saunders, 44, was one of two neighbors who tried to help firefighters put out the blaze.

Saunders was shot in the head following an argument with Scarlett and died at the scene, according to the TPD. Saunders’ young son witnessed the shooting.

Another neighbor, who has not been named, also tried to help crews put out the fire. He was grazed by a bullet but was otherwise unharmed.

The TPD said Scarlett fled the scene and rammed Leon’s vehicle at the intersection of East 36th Street and South Campbell Avenue.

Scarlett got out of his vehicle and started shooting at Leon, an eight-year veteran of the TPD. Leon shot back, hit Scarlett in the head and ended the threat.

In Leon’s body cam video, which can be watched below, you can see the officer performing first aid on Scarlett after the shooting.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.