Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Fatally Shoots Naked, Erratic Army Veteran

An army veteran was shot and killed by a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy yesterday in Fountain Hills, the Sheriff's Office says.

David Brandstetter, 26, was walking naked in traffic at around 12:45 a.m. Sunday, prompting two calls to 911 as drivers swerved to avoid striking him, MCSO reports.

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Lieutenant Markley Johnson responded to the calls and found Brandstetter walking on a residential Fountain Hills street "acting erratically," an MCSO press release says.

Brandstetter allegedly opened the door of Johnson's patrol car, jumped on the officer, punched him, and demanded his gun, according to MCSO. When Brandstetter then tried to force the weapon away from Johnson, the deputy shot him, according to MCSO's account. Paramedics pronounced Brandstetter dead at the scene, MCSO reports.

The incident occurred just a mile from Brandstetter's residence.

"Something may have caused this young man to take leave of his senses," Sheriff Joe Arpaio says in a statement. "It's a sad situation all around. But regardless of the reason, the suspect's actions left no alternative for my deputy."

Johnson has been employed with the MCSO for 29 years.

Brandstetter was released from the army slightly over a year ago, MCSO reports. He was married with three children and worked as an air conditioning technician, according to the agency.

A request for additional information was not immediately returned.

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Ashley Cusick
Contact: Ashley Cusick