Posted 6:12 PM 9/15/2012 : Neighbors react to officer involved shooting
TUCSON-An investigation is underway in a deadly shooting on the Southside.
Tucson police opened fire on a man in a wheelchair.
This all happened at the Valencia Gardens apartment complex near 6th Avenue and Valencia.
Police said it all started with a confrontation between two men at the apartment complex.
Neighbors are still shaking after they heard gunshots Saturday morning that left a man dead.
Neighbors were awoken by the sound.
"Like they put a firecracker boom boom boom boom boom," said Francisco Guadalupe.
They also said they were horrified by what they saw.
"I saw the police there and I saw one of the police running, and that's when another police came in," said neighbor Delia Antes.
Around 7:30 Saturday morning, someone called 911 saying a man in a wheelchair was shooting at him.
Police said Sgt. Ray Mechtel arrived to the scene, saw a man matching the description facing away from him at the apartment complex, Sgt. Mechtel then told 23-year-old Johnny Castillo-Romer to show his hands.
Police said that's when Romero turned towards Sgt. Mechtel and after repeated commands, Romer reached for his gun, took aim and that's when Sgt. Mechtel fired.
Romero was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
When family arrived, they were visibly upset when they were notified that their loved one was dead.
Neighbors were quick to criticize.
"I think that they should have first seen how he was in that wheelchair and try to see if they could calm him down or what," said Delia.
Tucson police said Sgt. Mechtel was merely protecting himself and the community.
"In this case, the fact that he is in a wheelchair did not make a difference unfortunately this is a deadly force situation. That's what officers are faced with and that's what they were required to do," said Sgt. Chris Widmer.
The investigation is still ongoing.
Findings of the case will be presented to the County Attorney's Office for review.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Mechtel has been placed on paid administrative leave.
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