Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $2,884,714)
The Arizona Department of Public Safety is applying for the OVC FY 2021 Invited to Apply Glendale AZ – Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Crime Victim Compensation and/or Assistance grant in response to the needs of crime victims arising from the Westgate Mall Shooting in Glendale, Arizona on May 20, 2020. Partners in the provision of services to crime victims include the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, the City of Glendale Police Department, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. A male suspect holding a black AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle was seen walking through the parking lot and into the Westgate plaza firing randomly at persons who were at Westgate. Westgate is a multi-story open-air mall with a breezeway running through the center, consisting of 8,000,000 square feet of retail space.
Westgate Property Management estimates there were 550 people at the mall at the time of the incident. Three individuals were gunshot victims and another 27 were directly threatened by the perpetrator and believed their lives were at risk. Additionally, 30 victims, four businesses and four minors were affected, and another 407 were interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Glendale Police Department. Undoubtedly, there are many more individuals who would be considered direct or indirect victims that are in need of outreach and support.
Victims of this incident received immediate support such as crisis services via hotline and linkage to mental health services and victim compensation. Victim advocates have identified that income loss, mental health, mileage and transportation costs for appointments and medical assistance will be the most significant needs of victims moving forward. Additional outreach to the many individuals listed in police reports, etc. is needed and current staff does not have the capacity to provide outreach services to all victims of this incident. Of significant importance is being able to support the additional victims during the court process, especially those not named in the indictment.
Through this grant, an outreach specialist position and associated costs will be supported to assist victim advocates in the Glendale Police Department with providing on going assistance to victims. Funding will also be utilized to reimburse the VOCA funds used for crisis counseling and immediate needs of victims in response to the incident. Additionally, a part time claims specialist position is needed at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to provide timely and comprehensive assistance with victim compensation application and claim processing.