Campos arrested in Thatcher shooting

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Manuel Ramon Campos was arrested Thursday regarding a shooting in Thatcher.

By Jon Johnson 

THATCHER – Manuel Ramon Campos, 37, was booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on Thursday after a shooting incident in Thatcher. 

According to reports, Thatcher Police, along with officers from the Safford and Pima Police Departments and deputies with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, responded to a shooting incident at 3589 W. Main St. on Thursday afternoon. However, no injuries were reported. 

After a short foot chase, Campos was apprehended and booked into the jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon, burglary, criminal damage, and unlawful discharging of a firearm. Campos has also been wanted since Oct. 31, 2018, when a bench warrant for his arrest was issued relating to his guilty charge of possession of marijuana.

The shooting is still under investigation by the Thatcher Police Department, and the Gila Herald will post an update when possible.  

Campos was one of two suspects in the December 18, 2017, shooting of Gary Don Hess at the victim’s residence in the 900 block of State Route 366 (Swift Trail). 

In that case, a shotgun blast went through the victim’s door and hit Hess in the neck. Hess was flown to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and responded well to treatment.

3Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Robert Lee Lafler took a plea agreement and was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the shooting of Gary Hess in December 2017.

Campos went on the run after the shooting but was later captured and arrested. He was charged with misconduct involving weapons, discharging a firearm at a residence, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault by causing serious physical injury. 

It appeared the case was headed for trial as the jury was given instructions in April 2018, but the case was then dismissed without prejudice, which means prosecutors can bring the charges back if they so desire to do so. 

Campos was previously found guilty of aggravated assault and burglary in 2010, and disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon in 2015. 

The other suspect in the Hess shooting, Robert Lee Lafler, took a plea agreement and was sentenced April 12, 2018, to seven years in prison on a charge of misconduct involving weapons – a Class-4 Felony – with a four-year probation tail on an amended charge of discharging a firearm at a residential structure – a Class-2 Felony.  

Lafler was previously convicted of armed robbery in 2006. He was also convicted of robbery in 2002 and aggravated assault in 2007, both in Maricopa County. Locally, he was convicted in 2016 of resisting arrest.

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