Hero Homeowner Shot Mistakenly by Phoenix Cop Seeks $5.75 Million Settlement From City
A homeowner who was holding an intruder at gunpoint just before a Phoenix cop shot him multiple times is seeking at least $5.75 million from the city for himself and his family.
Tony Arambula, 35, still suffers pain and will require several more surgeries following the September 17, 2008 shooting, according to a notice of claim filed Monday with the city of Phoenix. Attorney Michael Manning, who's made a name for himself on high-profile cases involving mistakes or abuses by law officers, states in the claim that if it comes to a jury verdict, the city may end up paying $5 million to $9.5 million -- or more.
The case -- told in a readable style by Manning in the notice of claim -- is a fascinating, bizarre and tragic tale sure to send chills up the spines of Arizona's many gun enthusiasts:
A crazed man wielding a 9mm handgun broke into the Arambula's home near 32nd Street and Osborn while the family was inside. Tony crawled with his youngest son to meet his wife -- a legal secretary for a local law firm -- at the back of the home, then got his own gun and confronted the intruder in his oldest son's room. The older boy fled out of a closet while his dad held the stranger at gunpoint.
Moments later, three Phoenix cops burst into the home. They had already been in the area to look for the gunman, who had already frightened the owners of another home.
According to Manning's notice of claim, six-year veteran Officer Brian Lilly then shot Arambula in the back, blowing a hole in him the size of a Dixie cup. The officer fire several more times, hitting Arambula in the legs and arm.
Arambula had been on the phone to 911 at the time: "You just killed, you killed the homeowner," Arambula told the operator.
A transcript of the 911 call attached to the claim records the obscenity-ridden reaction by police, who quickly understood a mistake had been made.
Arambula didn't die. But his survival, says the claim, came despite further bad treatment by the cops. Manning says cops dragged the bleeding homeowner across gravel, right in front of his wife and kids, and then tossed him on the superheated hood of a squad car.
The intruder, Angel Anastacio Canales, was arrested. The 9mm was found under one of the kids' beds. When Channel 15 (KNXV) came to her door later, Lesley Arambula (pictured above) called her husband a hero.
Tony Arambula may still need to have a hand amputated, and "doctors have told him to expect a lifetime of pain and arthritis..." in his wrist and knee. Another source of pain is Arambula's hip -- surgeons busted it apart to obtain material for a bone graft in his wrist.
Manning's claim says Arambula is willing to settle the case for $3.5 million for himself, plus $750,000 each for his wife and two kids.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.