John Demko Sr. said his son has mental issues, but added he thought his son wouldn't have run down a police officer.
"He was trying to get away," Demko Sr. said.
It's that action that led Kingman Police Detective Todd Foster to shoot John Edward Demko Jr., 21, of Kingman while he was in a vehicle during a high-risk stop on Wednesday evening.
Demko Sr., 50, was near the initial high-risk stop at approximately 8 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Stockton Hill Road approaching the Andy Devine Avenue intersection. He was there trying to reach his son, who earlier in the evening had been reported to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office by Demko Sr.'s son-in-law for the theft of a 2002 white Chevrolet extended cab truck.
Demko Sr. said he had tried repeatedly to contact law enforcement personnel on scene to allow him to calm his son, who he said has mental health issues ranging from hallucinations to hearing voices.
"I said, 'If you let me talk to him, he'll calm down,'" Demko Sr. added.
Demko Jr. was taking medication for his mental illness and wasn't under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of the incident, his father said.
KPD Sgt. Rusty Cooper said initially indications confirm Demko Sr.'s statement on the lack of alcohol consumption by Demko Jr.
"I just feel the Kingman Police Department should have used a different approach," Demko Sr. said. "I don't think they have enough experience to deal with mentally ill patients."
Demko Sr. said he saw his son back the truck into the police vehicle and then attempt what he described as a U-turn.
That's when Demko Sr. said he witnessed three shots being fired upon his son. Those three shots were on target, hitting Demko Jr.
After being shot, Demko Jr. traveled on Andy Devine Avenue before merging on Interstate 40, a KPD release stated. After the use of spike strips and a police vehicle barricade, the vehicle stopped on the Andy Devine Avenue overpass.
Arizona Department of Public Safety and MCSO personnel were able to bring Demko Jr. into custody using a Taser and an MCSO K-9 around 8:40 p.m. Demko was then transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
As of Friday afternoon, his son was sedated at KRMC with one bullet still lodged in his shoulder, Demko Sr. said.
Demko Sr. and his family have been constantly visiting Demko Jr. at KRMC. During that time, Demko Sr. said no law enforcement personnel have contacted his family. DPS is conducting the criminal investigation at the request of the KPD. The KPD is conducting an internal administrative review.