Phoenix Police Spokesperson Tommy Thompson said in a press release this week that officers responded to a call at Arambula's Phoenix home, but "after entering the residence, one of the officers mistakenly shot the armed home owner." Arambula now alleges while at his home that night, officers conspired to cover up the mistake. Michael Manning, Arambula's attorney, said the 911 tape helps prove the claim. "The sergeant says, 'don't worry about it, I got your back,'" said Manning.
The press release from Phoenix police goes on to say that the "department has been honest and forthright from the very onset of this incident. No attempt has been made to conceal the truth or the facts surrounding it." Thompson acknowledges Arambula's lawsuit in the release and says his department will not be making any further statements as the litigation process takes its course. The claim, filed by Manning on behalf of Arambula, names the city, its police department, the officer who shot Arambula and two other officers.
The night of the shooting, Arambula said an intruder had broken into his home. Arambula called 911 and told police he was holding the intruder at gunpoint. As officers arrived, Arambula's wife Lesley said she told them her husband was inside the house holding a gun on the intruder. "I told them my husband was inside, he was the one with the gun," she said Tuesday.
The officers entered the house with a shout of "Police!" Almost immediately afterward, Phoenix police Officer Brian Lilly shot Arambula in the back. Three more shots were fired at Arambula, one hitting him in the arm.
The claim said that when Arambula fell to the floor, Lilly shot him two more times. That's when Arambula told Lilly he'd shot the wrong man. In his Internal Affairs interview, Lilly admitted firing at Arambula without any verbal warning, according to the claim. Arambula said he did everything he was supposed to do in that situation. "I would have loved if they would have told me to get on the floor and drop to my knees," Arambula said. "To not have given me any opportunity to not get shot, it's confusing. I pray that this never happens to another family."