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Newly released video shows hostages tackle gunman during 2018 incident in Phoenix

Posted at 1:24 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 13:25:44-04

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Attorney has released dramatic video from a 2018 hostage situation at a local convenience store.

The office released the video after it determined that officers were justified in their use of force.

Police say 53-year-old Joel McClain Carson entered a Circle K store on May 9, 2018. Surveillance video shows Carson walking up to a customer in line and shooting him in the back of the head.

The victim was 24-year-old Efran Hernandez, who was a father of two. He died at the scene before paramedics could get him to a hospital.

Carson reportedly tried to shoot several other customers and employees in the store, but his .22-caliber handgun malfunctioned. Investigators say Carson had recently stolen the gun.

Detectives wrote in their report that the revolver misfired eight times. Every single bullet "had been struck with the firing pin, however, the bullets did not go off due to the cylinder being out of alignment."

The malfunction almost certainly saved lives. Later, Carson desperately tried to pull the trigger on his gun as other hostages, took him to the ground and disarmed him.

The exit of the store was blocked by a donut case that Carson had moved to barricade himself and prevent the hostages from escaping.

Once the hostages disarmed Carson, they all ran outside, except for one employee who hid in the back office.

Carson stayed in the store for almost an hour while police negotiated with him. A SWAT team eventually entered the store and shot Carson.

Carson was hospitalized for a week and later booked into jail. He was charged with first-degree murder, nine counts of kidnapping, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person and eight counts of aggravated assault. Carson's case has still not gone to trial at the time of this publication.

While in an interview with police after his release from the hospital on May 16, Carson admitted to the shooting. He said he "wanted police to kill him."

Carson has already been convicted of multiple felonies.

This story was originally published by Zach Crenshaw on KNXV in Phoenix.