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Crime Trackers: PCSD Sgt feared for the victim's life in recent - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: PCSD Sgt feared for the victim's life in recent carjacking

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TUCSON- It was nearly a week ago when a man went on a crime spree.

The suspect, Elijah Lawrence, carjacked several vehicles, took a man hostage, shot at people and consistently pointed a weapon at his hostage and law enforcement.

A high speed chase ended when the stolen car he was driving hit the median.

Pima County Sheriff's deputies along with Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Tucson Police Department surrounded him.

A shot was fired, but it's still unknown if the suspect fired, or Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Kubitskey.

In an exclusive interview with News 4 Tucson Sgt. Kubitskey said,  "I feared he was going to shoot the victim.”

The hostage was Irving Hernandez, 25, he said he was pistol whipped by the suspect, and threatened repeatedly with a gun to his head. Sgt. Kevin Kubitskey, his deputies, Tucson police and Arizona DPS began the chase.

The 18 year Pima County Sheriff's veteran said, "The suspect was going from one incident to the next, to the next, to the next and every time it was escalating and getting worse."

The chase ended when the Camaro hit a median, and it came to a stop.

He added, "The suspect had the gun to the back of the hostage's head. He was being given commands to drop the weapon, put his hands up in the air. He continued to wave gun around and placing it back to the victim's head.”

The 18 year veteran said, "I felt that the victim's life was in peril and that I had no choice but to take a shot."

Kubitskey's training kicked in, "I was a swat sniper I knew the importance of the shot, and I knew the importance of this deadly force encounter. That coupled with my Marine Corps training and having been a Marine Corps sniper I knew this was going to probably be the hardest shot I would ever to take in my life.

He had a small window and had to worry about the victim. "He had the gun to the back of the head, and when I was first coming into position he waived it around this and he would put it back to the back of the head."

The sergeant waited, commands were being given, and the suspect wasn't complying. In fact officers said he was starting to become more agitated and when he lifted the gun a second time, that's when Sgt. Kubitskey said he took the shot.

He said he didn't take the shot sooner because of what is called sympathetic reflexes, which meant the suspect could’ve shot the victim

"I wanted to wait until that gun was back up in the air away from the victim before I took that shot."

In an earlier interview, the victim said, he ran out of the vehicle, officers ran towards him brought him to safety while other officers rushed to the car and immediately took the weapon. "Then we moved to the passenger’s side of the vehicle to immediately render aid, as we do we noticed he's having those sympathetic reflexes that I expressed to you where his hand is clenched and his finger is pulling the trigger even though the gun wasn't in his hand."

The victim is doing fine, Lawrence remains in the hospital and officers said his condition is improving. 

Watch the raw footage here

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