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Ex-Cop to Appeal Firing in South Side Shooting

February 07, 2002

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Ex-Cop to Appeal Firing in South Side Shooting

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by David L. Teibel, Citizen

A former Tucson police officer who was fired after he shot and seriously injured a man holding a cell phone will try to get his job back.

Thomas Schenek will appeal a city Civil Service Commission decision upholding his July 26 firing by the Tucson Police Department, his attorney said.

Mike Storie said he is waiting for a written decision from the commission before filing the appeal in Superior Court in the next few months.

Storie said the appeal will contend that the commission upheld the firing in spite of evidence supporting Schenek's bid to regain his job.

Storie said the commission's Jan. 22 decision was based partly on cultural differences between Schenek, a native Tucsonan, and Tranquilino Garcia-Coronado, a Mexican national, who was shot on Nov. 25, 2000.

The shooting took place after Schenek was sent to a South Side neighborhood to investigate a suspicious-looking man.

Schenek said he spotted Garcia-Coronado walking in an alley and followed him. Schenek then saw Garcia-Coronado crouched in a corner of a yard, his hands inside his jacket.

Schenek repeatedly ordered the man, in English, to show his hands. But Garcia-Coronado does not speak English, authorities learned later.

When he stood, growling and making unintelligible noises, Schenek said he saw Garcia-Coronado with a black object in his hand that he could not identify. Schenek pepper-sprayed Garcia-Coronado, who ran at the officer and chased him, Schenek said.

As Garcia-Coronado gained on Schenek and was about a foot from him, Schenek said, he turned and shot Garcia-Coronado once in the abdomen.

Garcia-Coronado lost his spleen, kidney and part of his liver. In December, the city settled a damage claim filed by Garcia-Coronado for $1 million.

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