By David J. Cieslak and Emily Bittner, The Arizona Republic
Phoenix police officers Eric White, 30,
and Jason Wolfe, 27 were killed Saturday night.
Moments before police kicked
down his door and two officers were shot to death, a suspect holed up
inside his north Phoenix apartment calmly told emergency dispatchers
he was alone with a semiautomatic handgun and didn't want anyone to
"I guess this is my last few minutes on the planet, so I'm sorry. .
. . I've been dealing with this for a year and half now. . . .
It's time to be done with it," Douglas M. Tatar, 29, told a 911
dispatcher, according to audiotapes released Tuesday by the Phoenix
Hearing a noise outside his apartment, Tatar said, "Don't open that
door. . . . Who are these people outside my door?"
Within seconds, officers raided the apartment and exchanged a barrage
of gunfire with Tatar. Killed were Officers Jason Wolfe, 27, and Eric
White, 30. A third officer, Chris Parese, was injured in Saturday
night's melee at the Northern Point Apartments, 1905 W. Las
Wolfe and White, both of whom were husbands and fathers, spent about
four years on the force and worked out of a north-central Phoenix
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Police said Tuesday that the tapes support the decision to kick down
Tatar's door instead of waiting for SWAT teams, saying they offer new
evidence that officers may have believed an additional victim was
Police radio communications indicate a single shot was fired inside
Tatar's apartment after officers arrived at the scene and before they
attempted to enter the apartment. The gunfire took place around the
same time Tatar called 911 to say he shot someone, police Cmdr. Kim
"Maybe the officers are thinking there's a shot fired in the
apartment and he just called to say he shot somebody. Maybe he just
shot somebody in the apartment? It's a possibility from what we heard
on there," Humphrey said.
The tapes indicate that dispatchers didn't relay a request from Tatar
that no officers enter his apartment nor did they tell officers that
he refused to come out.
Additionally, another officer asked dispatchers whether a specialized
police tactical team, the Rapid Deployment Unit, was needed at the
scene. The dispatcher agrees, but no additional units were
immediately sent to the apartment.
Although Tatar told emergency dispatchers he was the only person in
the apartment, a fact that was communicated to police at the scene,
officers may not have trusted the gunman's account.
"Do you believe him? Guess what? Suspects and bad guys lie all the
time," Humphrey said Tuesday.
Tatar was found dead by SWAT team members about two hours after the
deadly gunbattle. He was alone in the apartment, and police said he
Officers rushed to the apartment complex after Tatar, a mentally
disturbed man who worked as a driver for a courier service, shot
another man during a dispute over a $100 bet. The wounded man,
25-year-old Side Williams, was treated at John C. Lincoln
Hospital-North Mountain for a gunshot wound to the neck.
Officers arrived at the apartment complex a few minutes after the
5:54 p.m. shooting because neighbors who saw the incident called
Tatar, who had retreated into his second-floor apartment, called 911
at about 6:03 p.m. to tell dispatchers he "just shot someone."
He gave the dispatcher his name, phone number and told her he was
holding a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun.
She asked him where in the apartment he was.
"I'm not going to provide you with any information," Tatar responded.
The dispatcher then asked him to put down his gun and talk to
"There's no way I'm walking outside of this building," Tatar said. "I
can't go to jail. These people are drug dealers ... and I'm not going
to get beat up in jail every day. That is not a current
After Tatar told emergency operators he believed he was going to die,
a dispatcher told officers Tatar likely was suicidal.
But the moment that dispatchers relayed those details, the shooting
began. The tapes do not indicate whether officers heard the
As the officers lay dying in the apartment's doorway and the
gunbattle continued, other officers rushed to their aid and summoned
ambulances to the scene. An alarm can be heard blaring in the
"Get back! . . . Stay down, stay down! . . . I can't get in there!"
officers at the doorway yelled.
"Officer down! We need (unintelligible) to Palmaritas now!" an
unidentified officer shouted into his radio.
"Is there a unit could advise who's down?" a dispatcher asked the
"Two officers down. Three officers down. Two next to the apartment.
We've got one coming out by the front," the officer said.
Wolfe was shot in the head, while White suffered a fatal wound to a
portion of his upper body not protected by his bulletproof vest.