Simpsonville, SC — In case after corrupt case, we have reported on police officers who shoot and often kill entirely innocent people — on video — and face no consequences. Even when they are caught lying about what actually happened, the officers involved in the shooting and the subsequent cover up, are almost never held accountable. Case in point, the following story out of South Carolina in which a cop walked up to an innocent man’s home, shot him through the window, lied about it, and the department ruled that he “broke no laws.”
On the night of June 14, 2019, Dick Tench and his wife were sound asleep when Greenville County deputy Kevin Azzara walked up to the couple’s home, rang the doorbell and then shot Tench four times before he could even open the door. The entire scene was captured on the officer’s body camera, and department’s original version of events did not match the video at all. Despite the blatant discrepancies between what the department claimed happened and what actually happened, Azzara was ruled justified in his actions.
In a lawsuit filed this week in federal court, we’ve learned that this cop has been involved in an unjustified shooting and allowed to remain a cop — despite being terminated from his previous job as a cop.
Azzara was terminated from a New Jersey police department for an unjustified shooting when he became a gypsy cop before moving to South Carolina, who gladly hired the dangerous officer. Despite his history of violence, the police union has no problem supporting his actions.
“That was our position from the beginning, that he broke no laws, he broke no policies, he didn’t do anything wrong,” Michael Laubshire, an attorney with the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police who is representing Azzara, told The Greenville News.
According to the union, walking up to an innocent man’s home and attempting to murder him as he looks out the window is completely within policy. Sure thing.
Naturally, this is a statement with which Tench and his legal team strongly disagree.
“(Azzara) was hiding behind a wall and shot me at a 45 degree angle,” Tench said. “That’s what happened. I’m laying on the ground with three bullet holes in me, dying.”
Tench admits in a lawsuit that he has a concealed weapons permit and was holding a gun that night but never once pointed it at the officer. Also, he was inside his own home and had committed no crime.
“Dick Tench still has a bullet in his hip that reminds him of the shooting every day,” Tench’s attorney, Beattie Ashmore, said. “Nothing has ever been done by Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. The complaint alleges that this deputy was terminated his rookie year in New Jersey and unsuccessfully sued to get his job back. We further allege that he was then hired by GCSO and prior to shooting Dick he shot and killed three dogs and a person. The GCSO then lied about what happened by saying Dick opened the door and pointed a gun at the deputy. Thankfully the body camera video proves that Dick was shot in his own home through his front door window. Dick and Cindy want accountability and better training for local law enforcement.”
According to the department’s original “official story,” when Azzara came to the door, Tench opened up the door and pointed a gun at the deputy. However, after you watch the video below, you can clearly see that this is not the case at all.
Tench never even had a chance to open the door and was merely looking through the window when the trigger happy deputy opened fire on him.
“The Sheriff’s Office’s statement for weeks after the shooting was that my client opened his front door and aimed at a deputy and you can look at that body cam – that ends that version,” Ashmore told The Greenville News last year after the Sheriff’s Office released the clips of footage. “It’s difficult to explain how something like this could have happened.”
For several weeks after the shooting, the department protected the deputy’s identity by refusing to name him. Only after they cleared him, did they release his name.
According to the lawsuit, Azzara never identified himself as law enforcement prior and never activated the blue lights or siren on his vehicle while he was at the Tench’s house.
“I’ve never been a cop. I’ve never been around anybody who’s had to make those split second decisions … but it was a bad one,” Dick’s wife, Cindy Tench, said. “Within a half hour of kissing your spouse of nearly 40 years goodnight and the next thing you know he’s in the foyer bleeding to what we thought could have been his end…when you wake up to that.. you have no clue what’s going on.”
As the video shows, the sound on the body camera is silent for the first 30 seconds, including when the deputy fired his gun. It never shows the door open, completely blowing the department’s claims out of the water. However, the audio does pick up the conversation after the shooting, clearly showing the irresponsible nature of the deputy and the department.
After he was shot, Tench yells to his wife to “call the cops!” The deputy then responds, “I am the cops!”
“Who are you? Why are you here?” asks Tench as he sits on the ground with multiple bullet holes in him.
“I saw lights and I heard the door bell ring, so I got my gun. I’m a concealed weapons guy.”
Several seconds later, Tench asks, “Why did you do that?” and the deputy responds, “You pointed a gun at me, man.” The man replies, “Dude, you came to my house at 12 o’clock at night, I’m sleeping. [Expletive], I’ve got to protect my house.”
The deputy then tells him that someone hit a panic button on an alarm. But the Tench’s don’t have an alarm.
“We don’t have an alarm,” Tench says.
Tench saw reflections from the deputy’s flashlight and came to see who was at his home, wondering if an intruder had broken into his house, Ashmore said, according to Greenville News.
“He carries a concealed weapons permit,” Ashmore said. “That’s a four-hour class where they teach you to first know what you’re shooting at when you first pull the trigger. Apparently, the officer didn’t attend that class.”
According to police, the deputy was responding to a medical emergency alarm that was triggered. Police claim that when they called the number associated with the alarm, no one answered. So, instead of sending an ambulance to the medical emergency, they sent a known trigger happy cop — who actually created his own medical emergency.
Tench was struck once in the pelvis and once in the aortic artery. Luckily, he survived, but he was hospitalized for 30 days before they could even remove one of the bullets. The bullet in his pelvis will have to remain in the 63-year-old man’s body for the rest of his life.
TFTP predicted that this deputy would not face any charges as this is the standard operating procedure for most departments. However, we had no idea that Azzara had been in this situation before. According to SLED files, Azzara is no stranger to shooting and even killing people. Just two years ago, in 2017, Azzara shot and killed a Simpsonville man. In 2016, documents show that he shot that same man’s dog. Like this shooting, he faced zero accountability.
When the department released the video, they did so with their official narrative, attempting to justify every action the officer took along the way. Now we see why. However, we have the unedited one below. As you watch the video below, remember that this man had harmed no one, broken no law, and was safely asleep in his home when a cop came to his door and shot him. Had the man who shot Tench been a regular citizen, rest assured that a manhunt would have been launched and news alerts rolled out. However, because the shooter had a badge and a gun, not only was there no manhunt, but the shooter is still getting paid by taxpayer dollars. Shameful indeed.
“People say they have a tough job and everything… And they do. But there’s also innocent people out there getting killed every day,” Dick said. “Every day getting killed by bad decisions. They need better vetting and better training.”