February 08, 2002
Ex-Cop to Appeal Firing in South Side Shooting
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
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,
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.