A Glendale man who apparently threatened people with an assault rifle at a party last month was shot and killed by an armed partygoer.
We checked back in on the case after discovering that gun enthusiasts have hailed the shooter, whom police have identified as 39-year-old James Rakes, as a hero who stopped a "mass shooting."
Literally dozens (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, for starters) of blogs glorify the man, based on the few facts about the shooting released by police at the time, claiming that a "mass shooting" (some call it a "possible mass shooting") had been stopped.
He left, but then came back with an "assault-type rifle," and started firing off rounds, not at people, but "in close proximity" of several people.
Police believe Loreto also pointed the weapon at several people.
Meanwhile, Rakes pulled out his personal handgun, and fired one shot at Loreto. Loreto died a few days later in a hospital (his death never was reported by media outlets that initially reported the shooting).
Rakes was questioned by detectives and released, and the case is being forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review, which happens in every self-defense shooting case.
Was this such a clear-cut case of an armed hero/citizen preventing a mass murder? To the gun enthusiast spectators, yes, but to police -- not so fast.
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Here's what Glendale Police Officer Tracey Breeden tells New Times on the subject:
". . . in order to protect the future prosecution of this case, we would never want to speculate or jump to conclusions about what an individual may or may not have done. Providing an opinion based on speculation would not only be inappropriate but counterproductive, and it could compromise the investigation."