On February 25, 2023, Phoenix Police received a 911 call reporting that 36-year-old Matthew Sansotta was driving erratically, swerving in the roadway, and drinking alcohol while driving.
After Sansotta pulled into an apartment complex at 17617 North 9th Street, the caller reported that he nearly struck a pedestrian. At around 2:40 p.m., officers arrived at the complex and found the vehicle backed into a parking spot, as described by the caller.
Sansotta was reclined in the driver’s seat. One officer noticed a rifle in the front console area, as well as a handgun located in the pocket of his door.
Sansotta was required to move to the back-quarter panel of the truck while officers conducted a DUI investigation. Another officer stayed with Sansotta while the first officer checked his records.
A few moments later, the officer with Sansotta saw him move toward the open driver’s door and grab the handgun.
The two struggled for control of the weapon, and the officer doing the records check saw the commotion and returned with his duty weapon drawn. He fired one shot at Sansotta, who was then given lifesaving measures by officers until the Phoenix Fire Department arrived. Despite the efforts, Sansotta later died at a local hospital.
According to the police report, Sansotta had a history of substance abuse, and his driver’s license had been revoked due to a prior DUI. The officer involved in the incident is assigned to the Black Mountain Precinct and has over 14 years of service with the department.