Former MMA fighter claims self-defense after shooting and killing man over parking dispute, Arizona police say

News & Politics

A former mixed martial arts fighter says that he shot and killed a man in self-defense over a parking dispute in Arizona, according to police.

Phoenix police said they were called to a parking lot near 31st Avenue and Beardsley Road in north Phoenix on Saturday at about 9:20 p.m. over a report of a shooting.

His self-defense claim was ‘consistent with witnesses and surveillance video.’

They found 32-year-old Alejandro Samplina shot by 53-year-old Shannon Ritch outside of a popular bar called Twin Peaks.

Ritch told police that Samplina had threatened him with a knife over the dispute about a parking space and that he responded by grabbing a gun from his car.

“Ritch was able to retrieve his handgun from the open door of his vehicle. Samplina proceeded to walk towards Ritch with the knife in a threatening manner. In response, Ritch fired one round, striking Samplina,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Mayra Reeson.

Police said they were able to recover the weapon from Ritch.

Samplina was transported to a hospital but declared dead.

Police said that Ritch stayed to give them a statement and was released after they found that his self-defense claim was “consistent with witnesses and surveillance video.”

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will review any charges that might be filed against Ritch.

Ritch was known as “Shannon the Canon” when he fought as a bare knuckle boxer and mixed martial arts fighter. He has also worked as a stunt man in several Hollywood movies, including an upcoming film with Mel Gibson entitled “Boneyard.”

The fighter had just returned from Doha in Qatar for a fight. His last professional fight, according to ESPN, was in 2019. He is known for being the Middleweight Champion for the King of the Cage tournament.

Phoenix reported a steep drop in the homicide rate of about 40% in the first quarter of 2024 from the same time the prior year. Other U.S. cities have reported decreases in the homicide rate in early 2024.

Recent surveys have shown that concern about the crime rate has increased among all three political segments of Americans, with Republicans leading at 68% while Democrats bring up the rear at 47%. According to FBI stats, the violent crime rate has dropped from 747 instances per 100k people in 1993 to 380 instances per 100k in 2023.

The FBI also says that property crime has continued to decrease from nearly 5k instances per 100k people in 1993 to fewer than 2k instances per 100k people in 2023.

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