Showdown at the shopping mall: No charges expected following shooting at Arizona Pavilions

Courtesy photo
The parking lot of Arizona Pavilions near where the shooting occurred.

The Pima County Attorney's OFFICE is being tight-lipped regarding whether prosecutors plan to file charges against a man who shot another man during a physical altercation, presumedly over a parking space at a Marana shopping mall earlier this month.

While the Marana Police Department posted their criminal investigation unit was notified by the county attorney's office that charges would not be pursued "against the shooter or the male that was shot" on the department's Facebook page last week, County Attorney Laura Conover has yet to confirm because her office was still trying to contact the wounded man's family.

Conover wrote in a text to Tucson Local Media on Friday, Apr. 23: "I requested services be provided to the family, so now I am going through their advocate to get the meeting. I know that time equals stress in the situations, so I have offered the weekend."

She later wrote on Sunday, April 25, that her office had been unable to get in touch with the family over the weekend, but they would continue their efforts.

Tucson Local Media has requested a copy of the incident report from MPD, but has not received the department's official document as of press time.

While details regarding the case are unclear, MPD's public information officer Sgt. Abel Samano confirmed Marana Police officers responded to a 911 call about a shooting in the parking lot of Ross Dress For Less in the Arizona Pavilions Marketplace on Cortaro Road at 12:32 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.

"All the other parties involved were detained on-scene. There were no warrants outstanding and no danger to the public," Samano said. "We have several witnesses all over the [parking] lot. As you can imagine it was very busy at that time and there were a lot of people who watched it and saw it."

Samano also confirmed one man sustained a single gunshot wound to the abdomen during the scuffle and was later transported to UMC Banner Hospital after officers administered first aid. The sergeant declined to comment further since the investigation was still open at the time. However, he referred Tucson Local Media to check the department's Facebook page for future details on the case.

MDP's initial post about the incident on April 16 stated: "Preliminary information indicates the two adult males engaged in an argument and then physically fought for a short period. The two separated and one male was shot in the abdomen during the separation. Both subjects had firearms in their possession during the incident. Both subjects were on scene and spoke to detectives."

In a social media update about the case on April 22, the department announced their criminal investigation was complete and responded to citizen concerns for more details. MPD dispelled online speculation that the shooter later ran over the person who was shot with their vehicle, stating "Detectives spoke with all identified witnesses, none of which reported that anyone was run over or struck by a vehicle."

MPD also addressed questions regarding whether the shooting should be considered a hate crime due to the nature of the incident and the race of those involved. In a Facebook post, MPD stated: "During interviews with all identified witnesses and the involved parties, detectives did not discover any evidence that would lead them to believe that this incident was motivated by the affiliation of either party to a group listed in Arizona Revised Statutes 41-1750, subsection A, paragraph 3. This statute specifically governs the investigation of hate crimes."

While the Marana Police Department and the Pima County Attorney's office have not released the names of either person involved in the shooting, a GoFundMe for Jarron Taylor-Smith—an African-American man presumed to have been shot—cites the incident in the online fundraiser's bio and questions MPD's official account. The GoFundMe has collected $7,783 toward its $25,000 goal since launching on April 13.

In the fundraiser's bio, organizer Billie Fuller writes: "The aggressor was a middle-aged white man, whose picture I have yet to obtain, decided to attempt murder all because the man felt entitled to a parking spot that Jarron was not pulling out of fast enough. The witnesses on site have stated that the aggressor initiated the confrontation, attempted to choke, then attempted to lift and slam Jarron onto concrete with no success. Jarron's only attempt at defending himself was pushing the man off of him and attempted to turn away to leave the situation. He was then shot in the back by the aggressor."

Fuller, who is a family member of Taylor-Smith, then disputes MPD's statement that both men were armed during the confrontation and that the shooter did run over Taylor-Smith's legs after shooting him in the fundraiser's bio: "Infuriated that he wasn't able to shoot him [Taylor-Smith] to death, the aggressor then climbed into his vehicle and proceeded to run Jarron over with the intention to murder before driving away. Even though Jarron did not have a gun on his person, the Marana Police Department is now currently trying to frame Jarron for the entire altercation claiming that the aggressor had all rights to carry the situation as self defense and is attempting to prevent any charges being pursued against him."

Fuller later writes that Taylor-Smith sustained multiple injuries from the shooting and is not expected to regain mobility after suffering severed nerves to his lower spine, along with having a portion of his small intestine removed due to lodged bullet fragments. Donations collected from the GoFundMe are expected to help with the family's expenses and a wheelchair for Taylor-Smith, according to the fundraiser's bio.

Tucson Local Media reached out to Fuller for comment, but have been unable to make contact as of press time.

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