Police Name James Lee Carr as the Suspect Accused of Phoenix Shooting

james lee carr

Getty The outside of the Sandra Day O'Connor federal courthouse

James Lee Carr is the suspect who has been arrested and accused of shooting a security officer outside of Phoenix’s Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse on September 15. According to ArizonaFamily.com, the security officer was a contractor who had been deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service.

He was on duty, in uniform and inspecting a UPS truck when he was shot; after a short stint in the hospital, he has been recuperating at home, the Associated Press reported.

Carr’s ex-wife, Donna Gonzales (as it is spelled in the AP, although it is spelled “Gonzalez” in the criminal complaint), told the AP that Carr was suffering from mental illness, but she had never known him to be violent.

The FBI is currently investigating the incident. The 68-year-old Carr has been charged with one count of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon and carrying and discharging a firearm while assaulting a federal officer.

Here’s what you need to know:


Carr Is Accused of Shooting a Security Officer

According to ArizonaFamily.com, on the morning of the shooting, Carr’s neighbors told law enforcement that Carr seemed angry and agitated and one neighbor who knew him for almost a decade even suspected that he might commit suicide. The criminal complaint quoted one neighbor who said, “James is an alcoholic, smokes marijuana, and has mental health issues,” according to court documents.

Here is what was reported in the criminal complaint:

On the morning of September 15, 2020, Victim 1 was conducting a security sweep of a UPS truck at the guardhouse on the north side of the Federal Courthouse prior to allowing the truck entry to the courthouse facility. Victim 1 heard someone say “hey.” When Victim 1 looked up, Victim 1 observed a Black male wearing a full-brimmed hat, driving a silver Cadillac sedan westbound on Washington Street on the north side of the courthouse.

At the point, the driver opened fire with a handgun from the vehicle, firing approximately three rounds and striking Victim 1 with at least one round on the right side of his chest area … Victim 1 returned fire, shooting approximately eight rounds back at the subject. Following the return of gunfire, the silver Cadillac sedan continued westbound on Washington Street, fleeing the scene.

Carr then contacted, among others, his ex-wife, Donna Gonzales. She called 911, which led police to show up at the park.

According to the criminal complaint, as the officer went to arrest Carr, he heard James “mutter something about blowing something up.” After being taken into custody, Carr told the officer testing his left hand for gunshot residue, “That’s not the hand I shot with,’” according to the criminal complaint.


Carr’s Ex-Wife Said That Carr May Have Had Mental Health Issues

According to the criminal complaint, Carr called his brother, Lonnie, who told him that he shot a security guard.

James told Lonnie that he shot at a security guard on Washington Street and 7th Avenue. Lonnie told FBI that, at approximately 11:30 AM, he contacted Buford Carr, James Carr’s son, and Donna Gonzalez, James Carr’s ex-wife. Lonnie told them James had told him that he shot a security guard and was sitting in Verde Park. Lonnie further stated that James indicated he wanted to die because he shot the security guard.

Buford Carr and Gonzales both showed up to Verde Park, according to the complaint, and saw Carr with a revolver and rifle next to him.

According to Buford, as Buford and Donna approached James, James told them, “Tell people not to f*** with me.” Buford moved the firearms away from James. Donna told law enforcement that she took the firearms and placed the rifle in the trunk of Buford’s vehicle, and the handgun under the driver’s side seat cushion of Buford’s vehicle. According to Buford, James told Buford he snapped and shot a security guard at 7th Avenue and Washington because the security guard was harassing him. Buford indicated that James had mental health issues and thought it was out of the ordinary that James was wearing a full suit.

The complaint said that Carr was dressed in a full suit, dress shoes and fedora hat.

Gonzales, who has a daughter with Carr, told the Associated Press that he “is sick” and that she hopes “he’s getting the help he needs.” However, she also said that he did not have a history of violence. When arriving at the park, Gonzales said he followed her instructions and didn’t behave in a way that made her feel afraid. “I had no fear. I know the man. He would never hurt me,” she told the AP.

Prior to the incident, Gonzales said that Carr had a history of behavior erratically and that she had only spoken to him two months ago, according to the AP.


The Victim Is Expected to Pull Through

According to the Associated Press (AP), the officer hit was wearing a protective vest and spent some time in the hospital before being released the same day to recover at home.

According to what Phoenix’s U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman Colleen Grayman told the AP, the officer served more than 25 years in law enforcement and was a retired Michigan state trooper.

Trump mentioned the shooting at his White House press briefing on September 16, saying, “In Phoenix last night, a federal officer was gunned down in a drive-by shooting … I’ll always stand by our heroes of law enforcement, and we want to stop this horrible rhetoric and stop it fast.”

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