45-year old Willie Timmons, who is known as the “Crazy Eight Bandit,” was shot during a foot chase after investigators observed him robbing the O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Store located at 8964 W. Peoria Avenue in Peoria. As he left the business, Mr. Timmons was pursued by Deputies attempting to get him in custody. After resisting arrest by ignoring verbal commands to stop running, Mr. Timmons appeared to reach for an object in his waistband believed to be his weapon. The escalating confrontation ended with the use of both non-lethal and lethal force by MCSO. No MCSO Deputies were hurt in the incident. Mr. Timmons has life-threatening injuries and is being cared for in a local hospital. An airsoft pistol, a replica of an actual firearm, was taken as evidence from Mr. Timmons by Deputies.
Mr. Timmons had been under surveillance that day by the MCSO Special Investigations Division (SID). He’s believed to be responsible for up to 16 armed robberies over the past five (5) months in the West Valley, targeting businesses including convenience stores and pharmacies.
Working with the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC), using intelligence and evidence gathered by MCSO Deputies along with Surprise and Peoria Police, SID was able to identify Mr. Timmons’ vehicle and residence. Investigators were also able to match tattoos from surveillance video of recent robberies to tattoos on Mr. Timmons’ hands. Their tracking led them to the auto parts store Friday night. Following the Friday incident, MCSO served a search warrant at his home and gathered additional evidence.
”This shows us again the value of our partnerships with local police departments,” said Sheriff Penzone. “Peoria and Surprise Police data combined with work by MCSO Deputies and Detectives gave us a strong chance of finding this suspect and neutralizing the threat.”
As MCSO narrowed its search to this suspect, it called in support from the Sheriff’s Fugitive Apprehension Tactical Enforcement team (FATE). FATE was formed after Sheriff Penzone took office in January and has arrested 104 violent felons on outstanding warrants who were on the streets and capable of committing additional crimes. FATE specializes in active pursuits of armed and dangerous individuals and its expertise made a difference in stopping this offender.
Deputy D. Parra an almost 20-year veteran of MCSO shot Timmons during the foot chase immediately after the robbery. Per MCSO policy, he is on paid administrative leave while the event is reviewed by the office’s Professional Standards Bureau (PSB).
Mr. Timmons’ criminal record shows conviction for numerous armed robberies in Missouri where he had been paroled after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence. He had once been arrested and charged with homicide, but was not convicted. Conditions of his parole included permission to live in Arizona.