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Ariz. cop's sixth shooting raises eyebrows

Officer James Peters is on paid leave following his sixth on-duty shooting

By Pat McReynolds
Reprinted with permission from KPHO.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Officer James Peters, a 10-year veteran of the Scottsdale police force, has taken the lives of five people while on duty, and Wednesday night, he was involved in shooting a sixth.

According to one source who has investigated his actions before, those numbers are unbelievable and beyond coincidence, especially in a city like Scottsdale that is not known for violent crime.

In his first four incidents, Peters shot and killed a suspect in a domestic SWAT situation, a disbarred lawyer who was pacing a canal with a shotgun, a suspect who reportedly tried to attack him with a pipe, and a gunman holding a hostage.

In those first four cases, Peters was cleared, and even heralded as a hero by fellow officers in his department.

On PoliceOne.com, Scottsdale Sgt. Todd Larson said, "Obviously he's an officer who can make the right decision under pressure."

His fifth shooting, however, wasn't as clear cut.

The Scottsdale Police Department had to settle with the victim's family out of court after Peters and other officers cut the power to a suspect's home and shot him dead when he came out with a gun to investigate.

And Wednesday night, Scottsdale investigators claim robbery suspect Jimmy Hammack jumped into a vehicle and drove directly at Peters and another officer.

They fired, and Hammack was critically wounded.

A CBS 5 News source said these incidents add up to a police officer who is too quick to shoot, and a department that is too quick to back him up.

Scottsdale police emailed CBS 5 News late Thursday night, stating that in each of Peters' shootings, they implemented investigations from the County Attorney's office.

They did not offer comment on the case that was settled.

Phoenix police are handling the investigation into Wednesday night's shooting.

Copyright 2010 KPHO.com

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