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Grandpa-shooting Arizona officer has five previous kills under his belt

Scottsdale police Officer James Peters has been involved in seven shootings in the past 10 years. Lissette Martinez of NBC station KPNX reports.

The Arizona police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man while he held his baby grandson has been involved in at least five previous fatal shootings, police said.

The officer, James Peters of the Scottsdale police, was on administrative leave Thursday after he killed John Loxas, 50, with a single rifle shot to the head Tuesday. Loxas' 9-month-old grandson, who was in his arms, was unhurt.

"There were at least three officers in position to engage the suspect," Sgt. Mark Clark, a spokesman for the Scottsdale police, told NBC station KPNX of Phoenix. "At least one of the officers thought he saw something in the suspect's hands."

KPNX reported that Peters has now been involved in seven shootings in the past 10 years, six of them fatal. The Arizona Republic reported Thursday that the city of Scottsdale agreed to a $75,000 settlement in 2009 with the family of one of the people Peters had killed; the city denied liability.

New Times, a Phoenix alternative weekly, profiled Peters in 2010 under the headline "'Dirty Harry' in Scottsdale? Badass Cop Bags Four Bad Guys in 10-Year Career." 

Police said that as a former member of the SWAT team, Peters had been involved in the department's most dangerous assignments and that all of the previous shootings had been found to be justified.

In the incident Tuesday, police were called to Loxas' home after a call to 911 reported that he had kicked over a trash can and threatened the owner when he complained. The caller said Loxas was walking around the neighborhood with his grandson and a weapon. 

"We have a neighbor out here that pulled a gun on us," the caller said. "He's got a baby in his arms. He's got a gun, and he cocked it."

Loxas had returned home by the time police arrived, and he answered the door with the baby in his arms. Peters and another officer told investigators they saw something in Loxas' hand, and when he turned, Peters fired a single shot, killing Loxas instantaneously.

Afterward, detectives determined that Loxas wasn't armed. But they did find several weapons in the home, KPNX reported.

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