‘Please don’t shoot me’: Man pleads for life moments before being killed by police officer




My beloved husband, Daniel, was shot and passed away the evening of Monday, January 18th. All of the details are not clear right now but I feel the need to put out what we know as truth and allow the rest to unfold through proper investigation– and to dispel rumors that have been circulating in the media.

Daniel was traveling for work in Mesa, Arizona. He makes this trip 2-3 times a month and frequently services pest removal stores there. He carries his wo

In Daniel Shaver’s final moments, he was heard pleading for his life — sobbing and saying to police officers, “Please don’t shoot me.”

Shortly afterward, Shaver was shot and killed by one of them, according to an investigation report from the Mesa Police Department.

In January, authorities said former officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford fatally shot Shaver after responding to a call about a suspect with a gun. He has been charged with second-degree murder and fired from the force.
Philip Brailsford. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) Philip Brailsford. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

On Tuesday, according to the Arizona Republic, authorities released a report detailing witness testimony as well as audio and video footage from a body camera that suggests an unarmed and intoxicated Shaver was begging to be spared. The report also indicates Brailsford may have had cause for concern as Shaver made a move toward his waistband while approaching police.

Authorities said Brailsford then fired five shots.

[Thousands dead, few prosecuted: An investigation into police shootings]

Late at night on Jan. 18, an employee at a Mesa La Quinta Inn & Suites phoned police to report that someone had been pointing a rifle from a fifth-floor window.

“A couple of the guests have come to me,” the La Quinta Inn worker said, according to the Arizona Republic. “I’m an employee and they’ve come to me and they’ve told me that somebody is pointing a rifle outside of one of the windows in our building.”

Listen: 911 audio before Ariz. police shoot man

Play Video4:59

A hotel employee in Mesa, Ariz., called 911 in January when patrons reported a man pointing a rifle from a room window. A police officer later shot and killed the man, identified as Daniel Shaver. The officer has since been fired and charged with second-degree murder. (AZcentral.com)

A woman later told police that she and a colleague were in Mesa for a Dollar General training conference and that Shaver had invited them into his room for “shots,” according to the report.

She told police she saw a case in Shaver’s room that contained a gun and a dead sparrow.

“Shaver told her he was on a business trip with Walmart and his job is to kill all of the birds that get inside the buildings,” according to the report. However, Walmart said Shaver was not a Walmart employee.

Shaver’s wife, Laney Sweet, said on Facebook he would travel from their Texas home to Mesa a few times per month to service pest removal stores.

The woman told police that Shaver and her male colleague started messing with the rifle, pointing it out the window. Her colleague later left the room.
With over 900 fatal U.S. police shootings in 2015, a call for retraining
Play Video4:11
In Pasco, Wash., officers fired 17 rounds that killed orchard worker Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was armed only with rocks. At the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, there is an increased focus on shifting the mentality of police officers from warriors to guardians. (Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

[Video shows activists turning Hollywood Walk of Fame into Black Lives Matter memorial]

When the officers arrived, they called Shaver on the phone and asked them to exit the room.

The woman later told investigators that she heard police yell at Shaver because he was not “following protocol.” She then saw police shoot him and “saw him go down,” according to the report.

But moments before he was killed, the woman said, he was crying, saying: “Please don’t shoot.”

Body camera footage shows that during the confrontation with police, Shaver was on the ground with his hands extended above his head, according to the report. At one point, the report stated, he tried to raise his body.

“If you do that again, we are shooting you,” an officer said, according to the report. “Do you understand?”

Shaver responded: “No, please don’t shoot me.”

Authorities said no weapon was seen on Shaver, but it was unclear whether he had one.

An officer told Shaver to crawl toward them.

Sobbing, he said, “Yes, sir,” and started to move.

Once he reached the area where the woman’s purse was, the report stated, “his left hand moved across his body and around the purse in order to crawl past it. Shaver was audibly sobbing as he crawled.”

The report stated that Brailsford’s rifle was pointed down the hall until that point.

“Brailsford then swung his rifle back toward Shaver where Shaver could be seen with his braced left hand and his right hand moving back toward his waist with his elbow raised behind him,” according to the report. “Shaver’s head appeared to be down with his face looking at the carpet.”

The report stated that “multiple voices” began to say “don’t” as “Shaver’s hand moved back toward the front of his body.”

“Brailsford fired his first shot as Shaver’s hand was moving toward the front of his body and as at least one officer was heard saying ‘don’t,’” according to the report.

Authorities said Brailsford fired about five shots.

Shaver, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene.

[The Washington Post’s police shootings database]

On Tuesday, Mesa police also released Brailsford’s personnel file, which was obtained by the Republic. The newspaper said it painted a picture of “a high achiever who scarcely received criticism from his employers or the public.”

In 2013, Brailsford spoke with the Arizona Republic when he became one of the first rookies to receive Axon body cameras during the department’s push for greater security and transparency.

“I definitely think there is a benefit to start out with this so young,” he said then. “It’s like learning a new tool right off the bat.”

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced earlier this month that it was pursuing second-degree murder charges against Brailsford.

“The use of deadly physical force by law enforcement is governed by Arizona law and is always a tragedy when the loss of life results,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said, according to the Arizona Republic. “After carefully reviewing the relevant facts and circumstances, we have determined that the use of deadly physical force was not justified in this instance.”

Brailsford told investigators that “a million things” were racing through his mind and he felt threatened when Shaver was crawling, “trying to gain a position of advantage in order to gain a better firing position on us,” according to the report.

Brailsford entered a not-guilty plea. Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, has started adamantly fighting against a possible plea deal in the case.

Sweet told the Republic earlier this month that she had been frustrated by the lack of information available in her husband’s death.

“I can’t bring him back, but I will fight for justice for him,” she told the newspaper. “My kids are absolutely heartbroken and I can’t fix it.”

This story has been updated.
Lindsey Bever is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. Tweet her: @lindseybever

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

The Post Recommends
This hot mic recording just made MSNBC’s Scarborough-Trump headache worse
It’s not damning, but it does reinforce a perception, which is dangerous.
Beware the rule-following co-worker, Harvard study warns
Harvard study on toxic employees lays out three characteristics that should make you suspicious.
The states people really want to move to — and those they don’t
A national trend has reversed.


The Razor Startup That’s Disrupting a $13 Billion Industry Dollar Shave Club
Hillary Clinton Through The Years Forbes
15 Celebrities Who Left Millions Without Updating or Writing Wills Smart Asset

The Best Kept Secret For Coloring Gray Hair Fab over Fifty
The only hoodie with a six-month wait. Trust me, it’s worth it. Business Insider
The Inside Of Leonardo Dicaprio’s House Is Far From What You’d Expect Lonny Magazine

Recommended by
Most Read

Mother who wanted haunting photos of her dead daughter is now charged with murder
An ancient site spotted from space could rewrite the history of Vikings in North America
All-American swimmer found guilty of sexually assaulting unconscious woman on Stanford campus
Smashed skulls suggest large European battle 3,200 years ago – and a more advanced society
The latest picture of Rosetta’s comet is truly breathtaking

Unlimited Access to The Post. Just 99¢
Our Online Games

Play right from this page

Mahjongg Dimensions

It’s 3D Mahjongg- you don’t even need to wear 3D glasses!
The Sunday Crossword by Evan Birnholz

Online crossword.
Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire is known as the king of all solitaire games!
Daily Crossword

Challenge your crossword skills everyday with a huge variety of puzzles waiting for you to solve.

Get the Today’s Headlines newsletter

The day’s most important stories, selected by Post editors.

© 1996-2016 The Washington Post

Help and Contact Us
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Print Products Terms of Sale
Digital Products Terms of Sale
Submissions and Discussion Policy
RSS Terms of Service
Ad Choices

See More


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s