Pinal County deputy cleared of criminal wrong doing in January shooting

From Video provided by Pinal County Sheriff Office
From Video provided by Pinal County Sheriff Office
From Video provided by Pinal County Sheriff Office

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has cleared a Pinal County Deputy Heath Rankin of any criminal wrong doing in the January 14th, 2014, shooting of Manuel Orosco Longoria, age 40, of Mesa.

Longoria was driving a stolen vehicle and attempted to ram several law enforcement vehicles in an attempt to get away during a 40 minute pursuit. During the pursuit he allegedly gestured that he had a weapon and repeatedly stated, he “wouldn’t be taken alive.”

Eventually the pursuit ended after his vehicle became disabled due to deputies performing a “pit maneuver.”

Longoria exited the vehicle and allegedly refused to obey verbal commands as he yelled profanities at the deputies. Deputies ordered him to the ground and he allegedly refused to comply. Officers and deputies attempted to use less lethal means to take him into custody including firing several beanbag rounds and Taser deployments. Longoria allegedly refused to obey commands and suddenly reached back into the vehicle.

When Longoria came out of the vehicle, officers claim that he assumed a shooting stance with both hands clasped together as if he was firing a pistol. Within one second of him assuming the shooting stance, Deputy Rankin fired the first of two bullets, striking Longoria and killing him. Deputy Rankin said he thought Longoira had a gun as he was directly in front of him, standing in a shooting stance and it appeared he was about to fire a gun at him.

After the scene and follow up investigation was completed, Dr. Parris Ward from “Biodynamics Engineering Inc.,” conducted a video analysis and enhancement of both the patrol dash camera video and the citizen cell phone videos. The videos also were time stamped as a means to determine exactly what occurred.

Warning: The videos below are violent and graphic.

Stabilized iPhone with sound

Dash Cam Comparison

Dr. Bill Lewinski (Professor of Law Enforcement at Minnesota State University, Mankato) also provided consultation. Attached are papers and studies which he and Dr. Bill Hudson (Chairperson of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato) wrote related to visual complexity, decision making, reaction times and other factors related to officer involved shooting cases. Attached is a summary of their studies and other articles pertaining to officer involved shooting cases.

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “Law enforcement officers across the country are forced to make split-second judgement decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving. Some members of the media and public were quick to criticize the actions of this deputy based on the cell phone video which a Phoenix television altered in an attempt to create news rather than report news. It is clear now from the enhanced video and investigation, the deputy was completely justified in his actions.”

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