Juvenile arrested in early morning incident involving alcohol and discharging firearms

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: One juvenile was arrested and another referred in the incident.

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – Officers from the Safford, Thatcher, and Pima police departments, along with deputies from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office investigated a juvenile-involved shooting incident in the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 6.

Two juveniles were arrested after authorities located them hiding in a canal as well as finding a 30-pack of beer and a .40 caliber Springfield semi-automatic pistol that had been stolen from a burglary in Thatcher.

According to a Safford Police report, officers were in the Bull Pen bar parking lot at about 1:45 a.m. when they heard two separate bursts of what appeared to be three gunshots each.

While heading toward the sound of the gunshots, Graham County Dispatch reported a person had called in regarding seeing a group of subjects shooting guns along the Highline Canal south of the Sunshine Valley Apartments.

Officers and deputies responded to the area and located three subjects wearing dark-hooded sweatshirts. Upon confrontation, the subjects ran from the officers and left a partially-open 30-pack of Michelob Ultra beer.

A juvenile was found hiding in a ditch, and the Springfield handgun was located in his pocket. The gun did not have any ammunition in it.

The juvenile had numerous abrasions and cuts on his face and was later evaluated at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center prior to being turned over to Graham County Probation for transport to the juvenile detention center in Pinal County regarding prohibited possession of a firearm, misconduct involving a weapon, and possession of stolen property.

A second juvenile also hiding in the bushes along the canal was located by a deputy with a K-9. The second juvenile showed signs of alcohol use and was referred to Graham County Juvenile Probation for underage with alcohol in body before being released to his mother.

The second juvenile said the group had been at the Mt. Graham Apartments when one of them dropped a gun and it went off. The juvenile said there were two guns at the scene and that they then shot off several more rounds to cover the accidental discharge. The youth declined to advise who else was at the scene or who shot the guns.