A suspect was reportedly apprehended in a deadly shooting spree in Mesa, Arizona on Wednesday. Ryan Giroux allegedly murdered one person and wounded five others before leading officers on an hours-long manhunt.
Giroux is covered in tattoos, most notably the words “skin” and “head” where his eyebrows used to be, the number “88” (Neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler”) on his left temple, and a Celtic cross (which represents the white race in white supremacist circles).
Giroux is also dangerous, with past convictions for attempt to commit aggravated assault, second degree burglary, and theft, according to prison records. He has been sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison.
According to a former local detective, Giroux is a longtime white supremacist with ties to “major racist groups.”
Retired Mesa Police Detective Matt Browning, who once infiltrated local skinhead groups, told Hatewatch that he knew Giroux from previous encounters, and that Giroux was a member of Hammerskin Nation, a notoriously violent racist skinhead group, and an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood, a national prison gang with a long list of murders to its credit. “He’s a violent guy,” said Browning, who knew Giroux as a young skinhead in the 1990s and early 2000s. “I think his time in prison contributed to that.”
He’s also alive.
Giroux’s rampage began at the Tri City Inn, where he shot three people — a male, who died at the scene, and two women, who were wounded. He then ran across the street to a nearby café, where he shot another man, who was treated by emergency medical personnel at the scene of the first shooting. Giroux then carjacked a woman, drove to a nearby motel, and pulled into an apartment complex. He then shot another man in the parking lot, broke into an apartment across the street, and broke in.
Two hours later, Mesa police successfully captured Giroux using Tasers.
Meanwhile, Eric Garner — a man who did nothing but allegedly sell loose cigarettes — is still dead, choked to death by New York City police. Eleven-year-old Tamir Rice is still dead, shot on sight by an officer responding to a 911 call in which the caller noted that the “gun” was likely fake (It was). John Crawford, who did nothing more than carry a toy gun he picked up from a shelf in a Cleveland area Walmart — Yeah, he’s dead, too, shot virtually on sight by officers responding to a 911 call in which the caller claimed Crawford was waving the “gun” around and threatening people (He wasn’t). Jason Harrison, a mentally-ill African-American man was holding what police claimed was a gun (It wasn’t). In reality, the victim was holding a screwdriver…and he’s not living anymore.
Two of these men (and boy) were unarmed, one was holding a tool, and the other a toy. Somehow, police were not able to apprehend any of these suspects without shooting (or otherwise murdering) them — yet Mesa police took down an armed suspect who had already killed and hurt people with a taser.
The difference (besides that Giroux was actually a danger to those around him) is that these other individuals are black.
Now, one might say that I am sensationalizing the issue. Of course, that person would be unaware that young black men are 21 times more likely than whites to be killed by trigger-happy police.
ProPublica examined federal data of fatal police shootings between 2010 and 2012 and found that “Blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.”
According to the report, white officers are responsible for most shooting deaths of African-American boys. While black officers are responsible for just over 10 percent of all fatal shootings, 78 percent of the shootings involve young black men.
“There were 151 instances in which police noted that teens they had shot dead had been fleeing or resisting arrest at the time of the encounter,” ProPublica reports. “Sixty-seven percent of those killed in such circumstances were black. That disparity was even starker in the last couple of years: of the 15 teens shot fleeing arrest from 2010 to 2012, 14 were black.”
While the argument could be made that the aforementioned African-Americans could have been guilty, that’s the point — they’re dead, and Giroux will have his day in court.