Payson police officers killed a man early Monday morning officials say was wielding a knife and refusing to listen to commands.

Michael Romo, 28, died on scene. His name was not initally released as Chief Ron Tischer said they were still attempting to locate his family.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Jan. 4, the Payson Police Department received a call of a suspicious subject near the Town of Payson Community Development building. The caller stated the subject was acting strange and talking to himself.

Officers arrived and located tools and other property hidden in the area that appeared as if they may be from a theft or burglary, according to a press release from Tischer.

While officers continued their investigation, the police department received additional calls from the Bison Cove apartments at 200 E. Malibu. One of the callers, who was in their apartment, reported that they could see someone in their vehicle. Officers confronted the suspect, who was at the caller’s vehicle. Officers gave multiple commands to the suspect to get on the ground, but the suspect did not comply.

“The suspect, a 28-year-old man came toward the officers while holding a knife. The officers continued to give the suspect commands to drop the weapon. The suspect refused to drop the weapon,” Tischer said. “Fearing for their lives, the officers were forced to fire their duty weapons to stop the suspect. The officers quickly began administering CPR and requested paramedics. Despite their efforts, the subject was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The officers involved are Sgt. Justin Deaton, who has eight years’ experience with the PPD, Officer Jirhod Brennan, who has four years’ experience with the PPD and Officer Max Farren, who has been with the PPD since September 2020, and has four years’ previous experience with the Tucumcari, New Mexico PD. Per department policy, all three officers have been placed on routine administrative leave.

The subsequent investigation has been turned over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety per departmental procedures. This is an open and active investigation, so no further information is available.

Contact the editor at

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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