The Winslow, Arizona Police Department has released the name and professional background of the officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Loreal Tsingine on Easter Sunday.
Officer Austin Shipley, a three-year veteran of the police department, shot Tsingine five times during an altercation that began around 4 p.m. March 27 outside a Winslow convenience store. A funeral service for Tsingine was held April 5.
The deadly incident began when Tsingine allegedly shoplifted from the store. When Shipley and another officer attempted to detain her, she physically resisted and reportedly threatened the officers with a pair of scissors, the Winslow police department said in a statement. Shipley, 26, has been on administrative leave since the incident, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is conducting a criminal investigation.
According to police records, Shipley completed police training in May 2012 at the Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy. He joined the Winslow Police Department in 2013 after failed attempts to get jobs with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Scottsdale Police Department.
Twice during his three years on the job, Shipley received letters of disposition, or official findings from the department stemming from complaints about on-the-job conduct. In November 2013, he got a letter finding him in violation of the department’s code of conduct – he was suspended for one day without pay for “inappropriate comments.”
In February 2016, Shipley got a second letter of disposition finding him in violation of the department’s application of Taser policy. The letter does not include details of how Shipley violated the policy, but he was suspended for one day without pay, got six months of disciplinary probation and was required to receive mandatory training on Taser deployment.
Social media sites have exploded with posts from alleged witnesses of the shooting and members of Tsingine’s family who claim the woman did not threaten the officers with her scissors. Some posts claim Shipley is a member of an extremist right-wing paramilitary group without concrete proof.
The Arizona DPS declined to comment on any of the allegations being spread over social media.
“For social media comments, blogs, we can’t comment,” DPS spokesman Raul Garcia told ICTMN. “We do not comment on open cases outside of case-appropriate facts.”
A close friend of the family has claimed that he viewed a video of the shooting – allegedly recorded by an eyewitness – that shows Tsingine did not raise her scissors toward the officer. A copy of that video has not been posted online, and the friend who claimed he watched the video did not respond to ICTMN’s requests for comment.
Garcia said he could not confirm or deny the existence of such a video, and that the department is not ready to release additional information.
“This is a criminal investigation, so our considerations include safety for all parties involved,” he said. “We’re still in the early stages of the investigation. It takes time to collect everything, record statements, package the evidence and establish a chain of events. Investigators are still going back to the scene, following up leads, doing interviews. Generally speaking, these critical incident investigations can take months to complete.”