YUMA, Ariz. - The Yuma Police Department said the actions of an officer that fatally shot another man last November were justified.
YPD said the Yuma County Attorney's Office made the ruling last Friday, saying the actions of Officer Sabino Saucedo were justified.
On Friday, November 24, 2017 at approximately 9:21 p.m., two Yuma Police Department officers responded to a Domestic Violence call at a residence located in the 3500 block W. 12th Place.
The officers make contact with 51-year-old Steve Steenhard. According to the police report obtained by News 11, Steenhard was inside his home's garage.
The report from the Yuma County Attorney's Office states one of the officer's noticed Steenhard was standing somewhat behind a refrigerator but also in front of an open gun safe with weapons located inside. Upon noticing this, one of the officers drew his weapon and began shouting commands for Steenhard to show his hands and exit the garage.
The report states Officer Saucedo came into the residence from the east side of the home. He also noticed that Steenhard was in front of the opened gun safe. That's when he drew his weapon. Officer Saucedo said that's when he saw Steenhard reach into the gun safe and move back behind the refrigerator.
In the audio recording provided, when Officer Saucedo reached the point where the other officer was located, the report states you can hear the officer saying, "Step away, come out now!" It then sounds as if Saucedo indicated to the other officer that he was present. Next, the other officer said, "Step away now... put your hands up." Immediately, Officer Saucedo yelled, "Drop it, drop it dude," at about the same time that the other officer yelled, "Put it down," followed by, "Get back, get back, get back."
According to the report, approximately 12 seconds after one first hears the initial commands by the other officer on the recording, he is heard saying in a lower tone, "He has a gun," followed immediately by a loud "get back!"
Officer Saucedo then shouted, "He has a gun, he has a gun." In the next six seconds, the other officer is shouting, "Put up your hands now sir, put up your hands, put up your hands!" Immediately a gunshot is heard followed by, "Shot fired, shot fired... put your hands up..." and, "Where's he at, where's he at?"
Both officers indicated that they saw Steenhard reach into the gun safe. Officers Saucedo states that he feared Steenhard was going to shoot the other officer. A black semi-automatic handgun was located near Steenhard, which was later described as the weapon Steenhard had grabbed from the safe. Steenhard was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center where he later died.
No Yuma Police Department officers were injured during this incident. News 11 obtained Steenhard's autopsy report. We'll take a closer look at that in our evening newscasts.