Documents shed light on James Carr, shooting of federal court officer

 eu.azcentral.com  09/16/2020 23:37:11   Perry Vandell

Court documents released Wednesday identified aman suspected of shooting a security guard stationed at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthousein downtown Phoenix late Tuesday morning and revealed that he may have been experiencing mental health issues, according to the FBI.

Court documents cite James Lee Carr, 68, as the man suspected of shooting a federal court security officer, identified only as "S.F.," as the officer was conducting a security sweep of a UPS truck at a guardhouse located on the north side of the court building.

The officer told the FBI that they were sweeping the truck when they heard someone say "hey." The officer looked up and saw a Black man wearing a full-brimmed hat driving a silver Cadillac sedan heading west on Washington Street, according to a probable cause statement the FBI submitted to the court on Tuesday night.

Court documents say the vehicle's driver, later identified as Carr, was armed with a handgun and fired approximately three rounds at the officer at least one of which struck the officer in his chest.

The officer was wearing body armor and a uniform displaying that he was asecurity officer, documents say. The officer fired back at Carr about eight timesusing his service weapon as Carr continued driving westbound on Washington Street and ultimately fled the scene.

Documents: Carr called his brother and waited in a park after shooting

Shortly after the shootout, court documents say Carr called his brotherand told him he shot a security officer near Washington Street and SeventhAvenue and was sitting at Verde Park about a mile and a half east of the courthouse.

The brother "stated James indicated he wantedto die because he shot the security guard," the document says.

After the call, Carr's brother called Carr'sex-wife and sonas well as the FBI to share what Carr had told him, court documents say.

Documents say the three family memberswent looking for Carrand found him sitting in the park wearing a full suit, dress shoes and a fedora hat with a rifle and revolver lying next to him.

His son told law enforcement that Carr "had mental health issues and thought it was out of the ordinary thatJames was wearing a full suit."

As his son and ex-wifeapproached him, Carrtold the two: "Tell people not to f--k with me," before the son moved the firearms away from his father and his ex-wife placed them in their car, documents say.

At about1:12 p.m., Carr's ex-wife called 911 and told them Carr's location shortly before responding officers took him into custody. Documents say that as an officer was testing Carr's left hand for gunshot residue, Carr said, "That's not the hand I shot with."

Court documents say the arresting officer heard Carrmutter something regarding blowing something up, sobomb technicians cleared Carr's Cadillac sedan out of an abundance of caution.

Friend told police he thought Carr was suicidal

After Carrwas taken into custody, officers with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force interviewed his neighbors to learn more about him and the events that led up to the shooting.

A friend of Carr's for about eight yearstold investigators that he lived close to Carr's apartment and that Carr had visited him about8 a.m. that day to ask forcigarettes and seemed to be in a very good mood, according to court documents.

However, when he visited Carrat his apartment two hours later, he told investigators that Carr seemed very angry and agitated while repeating, "I'm going home today," documents say.

Court documents say the friend interpreted this as Carrsaying he was planning to kill himself. He later saw Carr leave his apartment holding a rifle and revolver while dressed in a suit before driving away in his Cadillac sedan.

Documents say Carrwas arrested on suspicion of assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous or deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

If convicted, Carr could face up to 20 years in prison on the former charge and up to 10 years on the latter charge, along with possible fines, according to federal law.

Reach the reporter Perry Vandell at 602-444-2474 or perry.vandell@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @PerryVandell.

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