National News

Mesa police shoot man wielding stick or board, no officers hurt

Posted June 22

— A man was shot after approaching Mesa police officers aggressively with a stick or board in east Mesa Wednesday afternoon.

The officer-involved shooting occurred in a neighborhood near University Drive and 82nd Street just before 2 p.m.

Mesa police said they were serving an order of protection on the suspect, identified as 44-year-old Leon S. Wax, Sr. in connection with some domestic violence incidents.

"I am aware of at least 3 to 4 different times in the past," said Mesa Police Detective Steve Berry.

Wax was reportedly upset and went into his shed in his backyard to retrieve something. He then came back out and headed toward the officers, waving a stick or a board at them.

"From what I understand, verbally threatening them with that board or stick," Berry said.

Mesa police said officers tried to first use non-lethal measures like a beanbag gun or taser to subdue Wax.

"There was not a clear shot to engage him with a less lethal beanbag," Berry said.

That is when an officer fired his gun at the suspect, hitting him once.

No officers were hurt in the incident and Wax was taken to the hospital to be treated for the gunshot wound.

Mesa police said this was not the first run-in they have had with Wax, saying he has acted "aggressive" and "unstable" in the past.

Wax is still in the hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive his injuries.

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