Officer accidentally shoots another officer while arresting burglary suspect
A Yuma police officer was accidentally shot in the foot by another officer late Wednesday night during a struggle with a burglary suspect they were trying to arrest.
According to court records, the wounded officer was responding to an audible alarm at 10:22 p.m. at a business in the 1100 block of South 4th Avenue when he encountered a suspect trying to break in the back door of Johnny Yuma’s Bicycles.
Officer Nathan Williams ordered the suspect, identified as 52-year-old Richard Carbajal, to the ground at gunpoint. Carbajal initially complied but then got up and attempted to flee.
A second Yuma police officer, Thomas Slade, a six-year veteran of the force, arrived on scene and a struggle ensued. During the confrontation, Slade accidentally discharged his weapon, hitting Williams in the foot.
“Things like this can happen,” said Officer Leann Worthen, a spokeswoman for the Yuma Police Department. “There are inherent safety risks with this job. We are glad no one was seriously hurt.”
Two businesses in the area had been burglarized that night. Carbajal was arrested on suspicion of the burglaries and with resisting arrest.
Court records indicate that Carbajal admitted to breaking into the two businesses. Carbajal said he was attempting to break into Johnny’s to steal a bike and that just prior to that, he had broken into the neighboring business, Arizona Light Company, looking for money.
Court records also indicate that Carbajal is addicted to heroin and has a lengthy criminal record.
Carbajal made his initial appearance in Yuma Justice Court at 1 p.m. Thursday. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Greg Stewart, who informed him that the police were asking the county attorney’s office to file charges of burglary, attempted burglary and resisting arrest.
Judge Stewart also set Carbajal’s bond at $35,000. His next court date will be Monday at 1 p.m., when he will be told whether a criminal complaint had been filed against him.
Williams, a one-year veteran, was taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries to his foot. Slade was allowed to take his scheduled leave while the circumstances of the event are investigated.