The man accused of killing a deputy U.S. marshal in Tucson Thursday night previously threatened police officers over a gun they had seized from him, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
Beginning April 16, Ryan Schlesinger sent emails to Tucson police officers with messages such as "Release my property or else," the complaint said.
In one email, the complaint says, Schlesinger wrote, "The point here is that y'all need to think deep and hard about how far you're willing to take this. Ask yourself, what are you willing to sacrifice because if my property is not returned to me, having a police cruiser repoed (sic) will be the least of your concerns."
In July, August and September this year, the complaint says, Schlesinger went to Tucson police offices to try to arrest an officer, Sgt. Amber Kingman, who had been part of a group who seized a gun from him in August 2017.
Tucson police have been trying to handle Schlesinger's threats and misbehavior since that August 2017 incident, Sgt. Jason Winsky testified in an August 2018 court hearing.
Winsky was among a group of officers who went to Pima County Justice of the Peace court to request harassment injunctions against Schlesinger and another man frequently seen by the department’s mental health unit. Both, the officers testified, had been harassing officers assigned to the mental health unit.
At the hearing before Justice of the Peace Paula Aboud, Winsky, the head of the unit, testified: “About a year and a half ago, we started a relationship with Mr. Schlesinger with regard to threats to people at Pima Community College. My team took over the investigation, investigating both the threats and his mental health status.”
Asked by Aboud to elaborate, Winsky said, “Throughout last year (2017) Mr. Schlesinger has sent a variety of emails and voicemails. ‘You never should have crossed me. You are done in this town. I will make your life miserable.’"
In August 2017, Winsky testified, officers tried to contact Schlesinger and he barricaded himself in the house at 2614 N. 15th Ave. that was the same house where deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White was killed Thursday.
They were trying to serve a Title 36 emergency petition to have Schlesinger's mental health evaluated, the complaint says.
While Schlesinger was barricaded, Winsky testified, “He called 911 and said he was going to kill all the cops."
After officers entered the house, Schlesinger tried to grab a gun, but officers stopped him, Winsky testified. They seized the gun.
"The handgun was placed into TPD evidence along with a high capacity magazine loaded with specialized ammunition designed for increased penetration," the complaint says.
Schlesinger's hostility toward police escalated as the year went on, according to Winsky's testimony and the criminal complaint.
On July 3, TPD detectives interviewed Schlesinger and asked if he had access to a gun, the complaint says. Schlesinger "indicated to detectives that despite two active injunctions against harassment against him, prohibiting him from possessing firearms, he was aware that he could circumvent a background check to purchase additional firearms because he has a valid CCW," or concealed-weapons permit, the complaint says.
Winsky testified in court that on “Aug. 21, this past Sunday he sent me individually (an email). He said, 'it’s too bad you’ve involved my family in this beef. Now I’m going to have to involve you’re family in this beef.' ”
That same day, Schlesinger went to the home of a family member where, coincidentally, Officer Dustin Dial, another mental-health unit member, was staying, Winsky testified. He also went to the home of one of Kingman's family members.
Aboud granted the injunction against harassing or contacting the officers, which also prohibited Schlesinger from possessing firearms.
On Nov. 20, Schlesinger attempted to arrest Kingman at the west-side TPD station, 1310 W. Miracle Mile, the complaint says. On Nov. 22, he filed an online complaint in which he imagined a "shootout" happening if officers would not let him arrest them.
"At that point I have no choice but to render harmless the threat/s. I would highly recommend that the TPD arrest the criminals (officers) listed in my report so I don't have to. I don't think anybody wants this turning into shootout at the OK Corral."
After the injunction was issued, Tucson police attempted to get an order forcing Schlesinger into mental-health treatment but failed. When he continued trying to arrest officers, though, they were able, though, to get an arrest warrant against him for stalking Kingman.
That was the warrant the U.S. Marshals Service was serving Thursday evening when Schlesinger allegedly shot and killed Deputy Marshal Chase White.
“There have to be some changes made in the judicial and mental health system,” Tucson police chief Chris Magnus said. “This is just not acceptable.”