ASU Student Kyle Levitt Shot Man Before Physical Fight, According to Court Records

Witnesses to the Tempe shooting death of 20-year-old Gabriel Batten earlier this week told police the alleged shooter, Kyle Levitt, shot Batten twice in the abdomen before any sort of physical altercation occurred, according to court documents obtained by New Times.

Levitt, a 25-year-old student at Arizona State University, is accused of shooting Batten -- who later died from his injuries -- after an argument over loud music at a pool inside the Haven Luxury Apartments near Broadway Road and McClintock Drive early Monday morning.

Earlier reports from police did not definitively state whether Batten was shot before or during the so-called "physical" aspect of the confrontation, but the court documents state witnesses told police Levitt shot Batten before things got physical.

"Levitt came out to the pool to attempt to get them to quiet down," a probable-cause statement says. "A verbal argument ensued and according to witnesses before any physical altercation started Levitt shot victim Batten twice in the abdomen with a small handgun that he brought to the pool area with him when he went to confront Batten and [Batten's friend]."

After we revealed Levitt was a student at ASU in this post, people claiming to have either witnessed the shooting or claiming to have knowledge of the shooting said Levitt shot Batten in self-defense.

No additional new details were provided in the court documents outside of the alleged timing of the shooting, except that Levitt was detained near the pool area, and police recovered the gun.

Tempe Police Sergeant Jeffrey Glover recently told New Times police can't address specific information about the case, but asks that anyone who did witness the incident to come forward to the police department with that information.

The incident began around 2 a.m. Monday, when someone -- not Levitt -- called police complaining about noise at the apartment complex's pool, which turned into a call about shots fired as officers were responding.

Police said Levitt brought his handgun with him to confront the people at the pool, and Levitt and the loud people at the pool began to argue.

Then, as we mentioned above, the court documents state Levitt shot Batten in the abdomen "before any physical altercation started."

Police said another person in the pool then began to "struggle" with Levitt after he allegedly shot Batten.

At that point, Francisco Perez -- a friend of Levitt's -- fired his gun in the air, effectively ending the confrontation between the parties, according to police.

Batten was treated for his gunshot wound at the scene, then transferred to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Levitt and Perez were both detained Monday, and were arrested on charges that evening.

Levitt was arrested on one count of second-degree murder, and Perez was arrested for unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley

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