Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Nathaniel Sanchez, 18, left, and Tyree Coleman, 17, have been charged in the Sunrise Mobil Home & RV Park shooting Aug. 27.
Entire incident centered over girlfriend dispute between teenagers
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A juvenile who allegedly supplied the handguns used in an early morning shooting at Sunrise Village Mobile Home & RV Park on Aug. 27 will be tried as an adult.
Tyree Coleman, 17, was arrested Aug. 28 and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm within city limits and endangerment.
The second shooter, Nathaniel Sanchez, 18, had already been arrested and booked into the jail the previous day on the same charges.
Police officers were dispatched to the scene at 900 E. Hollywood Road at 2:35 a.m. regarding two victims who had been shot. Both victims were transported to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
According to Safford Police reports, the entire incident started due to an ongoing issue between Sanchez and a 17-year-old juvenile who was at a get together at a trailer in the park. Reportedly, Sanchez had previously become romantically involved with the juvenile’s former girlfriend, with whom he has a child. Coincidentally, the juvenile is also a suspect in a separate case involving an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl.
According to witness statements, the juvenile’s older brother – who would end up being shooting victim no. 2 – was invited to hang out at the residence and allowed his younger brother to tag along. Shooting victim no. 2 had recently been released from prison and is on intensive probation and was initially hesitant to speak with investigators or even be treated for his gunshot wound.
While at the party, the juvenile contacted Sanchez’s brother and invited him and his friends over to the house. Coincidentally, Sanchez is dating shooting victim no. 1’s cousin. Sanchez’s current girlfriend then drove him to the party, along with his brother and another male.
While at the party, the juvenile and Sanchez got into a disagreement and the juvenile allegedly struck Sanchez. According to Sanchez, the juvenile also reported he was “going to get his strap” and that he feared being shot.
After running away down the street from the fight, Sanchez was picked up by the people he went to the party with (who had retreated to their car and locked the doors) and he instructed his girlfriend to go to Coleman’s house because Coleman had guns. Sanchez was reportedly upset that the juvenile had made him look bad in front of his girlfriend and wanted to scare him to get him back.
Coleman allegedly supplied Sanchez with a handgun, armed himself with one as well and joined the group as they made their way back to the party.
Once there, Sanchez and Coleman stepped out of the vehicle and began threatening the crowd with their guns by shooting them into the air. However, shooting victim no. 1 approached them and began to tussle with Coleman, who struck the victim with the handgun. At that time, Sanchez allegedly fired near the ground where the two were wrestling and possibly struck his girlfriend’s cousin in his leg. The juvenile’s older brother (shooting victim no. 2) also came at the two teens and was shot in his leg/buttock area – possibly by Coleman. Shooting victim no. 2 also had a hole in his cheek that was possibly caused by a second round.
After the shooting, the group went back to Coleman’s house and Coleman gathered the guns. He later told investigators that he went up on Mount Graham and disposed them over an area known as “The Wall.” Investigators attempted to locate the weapons the following day in the daylight by hiking the area and through the use of an aerial drone, but the guns were not located.
During interrogation, both Sanchez and Coleman allegedly admitted to firing their weapons but both denied knowing if they actually hit anyone. Numerous spent .40 caliber casings and live rounds were located at the shooting location, as well as at least one slug that was found. The skirting of a mobile home across the street was also found to have a bullet hole in it.
Both Sanchez and Coleman have been appointed attorneys but neither has had their preliminary hearing, which will determine if the cases go forward to Graham County Superior Court.