A Carlsbad family is remembering their son and brother after police say a 17-year-old shot and killed him after he witnessed a hit-and-run crash in Arizona and detained some involved.
Joseph DeLegge, 22, was on his way home from work when he witnessed a hit-and-run crash in the Tempe area.
His father Louis DeLegge said it’s not surprising Joseph DeLegge stopped to help another driver Friday evening.
"Joey helped everybody. It didn't matter really who they were or where they were," Louis DeLegge told NBC 7. "I am not sure what led to all those circumstances, but Joey was the type of guy who calmed things down, never escalated things."
Joseph DeLegge and an occupant from one of the two vehicles went looking for five teenagers who ran away from the other crashed vehicle, according to the Tempe Police Department.
They found three of the five in a parking lot and DeLegge, using a firearm from his waistband, told them to sit on a curb while he called police. During this time a fourth person from the other vehicle, a 17-year-old, arrived at the parking lot, Tempe police said. DeLegge told him to sit and wait too.
Tempe police said that as DeLegge turned his attention to the three teenagers, the 17-year-old pulled a handgun from his pocket, approached DeLegge and shot him in the cheek.
"When officers arrived, DeLegge was unresponsive and a handgun was located in his waistband. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased," Detective Greg Bacon said.
The teenagers fled the parking lot but were located by Tempe police who were already on the way. Police also recovered a backpack thrown in a lake containing the gun allegedly used to shoot DeLegge, police said.
The shooting suspect was booked into the Durango Juvenile Detention Facility for multiple charges including second degree murder, possession of marijuana and a narcotic drug, and driving on a suspended license.
Louis DeLegge said he saw his son recently when Joseph DeLegge returned to Carlsbad for a family visit. Joseph DeLegge is one of 17 children, 14 boys and three girls.
The family moved to Carlsbad soon after Joseph DeLegge's birth in Seattle, according to his father.
Louis DeLegge said his son loved rescuing animals and even brought his pet pig to his last family visit.
"He was thinking about going back to school to do something along the veterinarian field. He donated his time with the local animal shelter here," he said.