Suspect's father says he shouldn't have been shot

Published: Aug. 12, 2016 at 10:00 PM EDT
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We learned more today about how investigators say a federal suspect ended up dead in Harlan County. They say a Lexington firefighter shot him during a joint operation, but the suspect's dad says he shouldn't have been shot.

"Somebody gets killed in Harlan in the mountain, no name," Ali Sawaf explained. He found out from social media his son, Mark, in federal custody, is dead.

"I thought it was a dream. It's impossible, incomprehensible."

Mark Sawaf had been in federal custody since June accused of placing explosives in trail cameras. Police say one of those cameras injured a man in the chest and hand. The explosives, his dad says, are nothing more than a hobby.

"People complain about him because he go to these private land and state land and go target shooting like other 40 people, 45 people, doing the same thing. So, the ATF investigated him in 2014 and found everything legal. What makes it illegal now?"

Dad says a judge approved Sawaf show authorities where remaining explosives were.

"He was upbeat. He told his lawyer he was relieved. He cried that luckily nobody else was injured and he wanted to help other people stay safe by cooperating with the authorities on his own."

Things took a turn. Police tell WKYT Sawaf attempted to run and that's when he was shot by a Lexington fireman.

"Well how can he run away when he's shackled with his hand even when he went with them walking the ground, when he went to the restaurant he was shackled all the way. How can a man flee if his hands are tied?"

Dad says there's something fishy going on, calling the search 'out of the norm' and saying authorities handled the situation with 'reckless disregard'.

"We think our police, our ATF are well-trained, are professionals; I don't think so."

Ali Sawaf has faced legal trouble of his own before. In 2002, a jury found him guilty of giving prescription drugs to people, 'without' medical examinations. At the time he has a doctor in Harlan County. Now, he says, he wants justice for his son.

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