Document: Photo radar shooting suspect apologizedby The Associated Press on Apr. 22, 2009, under Local, Special
PHOENIX – A suspect arrested in the shooting death of a man operating a photo radar van in Phoenix told police that he didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt, according to a court document released Tuesday
“I’m sorry. I was going to turn myself in,” 68-year-old suspect Thomas Patrick Destories told police, according to a probable-cause statement filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.
“I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt,” Destories said. “I saw it on the news. The gun is in the saddlebag.”
Destories had been riding his motorcycle when he was arrested Monday on a first-degree murder charge about 12 hours after 51-year-old Doug Georgianni was shot and killed as he operated a photo radar van on a north Phoenix freeway Sunday night.
Police say they don’t know the motive for the killing.
It’s unclear whether Destories has a lawyer. He’s being held in Maricopa County jail on a $2 million bond and is scheduled for his next court appearance on Monday.
Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill said Monday that the analysis of items at the scene and statements Destories made led investigators to decide that a first-degree murder charge was appropriate. He made the statement when asked about the assumption many people make that photo radar vans aren’t manned.
Arizona became the first state to use photo speed enforcement on state highways last year. The Arizona Department of Public Safety awarded a contract for the operation of 100 fixed and mobile photo speed enforcement cameras in July and the first were deployed in September.
The program has drawn criticism from many who call the effort costly and unfair to motorists. Its proponents say photo radar saves lives by slowing motorists and frees up police to tackle other problems.
Georgianni had worked for three months for Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., which has the state contract to operate the photo radar systems.
Hill said investigators believe Destories stopped behind the van and then slowly pulled alongside it and fired a gun multiple times.
The probable-cause statement said that Georgianni was sitting in the van, doing paperwork with an interior light turned on when he was shot.
Five large-caliber gunshots hit the marked Department of Public Safety van; three of them were in a tight pattern and grouped on the window of Georgianni’s seat, according to the document.
Hill said Georgianni was on the phone with his wife when he was shot.
Police found the magazine for a .45-caliber pistol in Destories’ front pocket when they arrested him, according to the probable-cause statement.