Metro Police released Wednesday morning body cam footage from an officer involved shooting that happened last Friday, July 10. The shooting happened on Sahara Avenue near Lindell Road. Warning: This video has graphic language.
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill met with the media Wednesday morning to discuss what happened the day 54-year-old James Michael Todora was killed.
Metro said at approximately 9:30 a.m., Officer Carlos Luna first started pulling Todora’s gold Jeep Grand Cherokee over for a taillight issue on Edmond Street north of Sahara Avenue. Todora stopped his Jeep at the 5600 block of West Sahara Avenue just west of Lindell Avenue.
Police said Todora immediately got out of his SUV and started shouting at Officer Luna to shoot him. Todora was ordered to come back to the officer’s vehicle, but he refused and went back to his SUV, according to Metro.
At that point, Officer Luna went up to his car and explained the reason he pulled Todora over. While this was occurring, Officers Jonathan Lipinski and Brian Kroening were conducting a traffic stop on Sahara Avenue just west of Officer Luna and Todora.
Metro said after seeing Todora’s reaction to being stopped, Officer Kroening walked east to Officer Luna help him out. Officer Luna was still trying to de-escalate the situation with Todora, who police say was very agitated.
According to Metro, Todora was upset about a different incident involving the police that took place a day prior to his traffic stop. During the conversation with Todora, police said the 54-year-old told Officer Luna he had a rifle in his SUV, so Officer Luna asked him to get out of the vehicle.
However, Todora refused to exit telling the officer that he was going to shoot himself. Metro said Todora then grabbed a Ruger 9mm P95 handgun hidden underneath a blanket in the passenger seat and pointed it at Officer Luna’s head. The gun made a clicking noise but it didn’t go off.
That’s when Officer Luna ran to the rear of the Jeep and took cover. Todora fired a round from inside of the Jeep, and it struck Officer Evan Hogue, police say. Officer Hogue was getting out of his unit to assist Officer Luna when he was struck.
While all of this was happening, Officer Kroening was making his way toward the passenger side of the Jeep with his gun drawn. Officer Kroening fired three rounds striking Todora.
Todora was taken into custody. When medical personnel arrived they pronounced Todora dead at the scene.
Officer Hogue was taken to UMC Trauma where he was treated for a grazing wound to his neck. He was released later that day.
“This could have been another police funeral,” said retired Metro Police Lt. Randy Sutton. “It was as justifiable as justifiable could be.”
This is a topic Sutton knows well; he was involved in four officer-involved shootings. Two of them were fatal. He says it’s something that stays with an officer.
“What he did was he committed suicide by cop,” Sutton said.
This is the 4th officer-involved shooting and second suspect fatality of 2015.