Man charged in shooting south of Safford allegedly used CO2-powered replica AK-47

The suspect allegedly used an air-powered replica of an AK-47 like the one shown here. The weapon was not located.

Suspect allegedly accused the victim of stealing his meth

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – A man allegedly used a CO2-powered replica AK-47 to assault a woman south of Safford on Saturday night after accusing her of stealing his methamphetamine. 

Tyler James Goucher, 39, of Graham County, allegedly shot his victim multiple times with a CO2-powered, replica AK-47 during the altercation. The weapon was not recovered. A popular replica available for purchase – the Brothers in Arms AK-74 – is a CO2-powered steel-BB airgun that comes with a faux 18-shot AK-47 magazine and can shoot its projectiles up to 450 feet per second (FPS), which is equivalent to more than 300 mph. According to police reports, Goucher shot the victim during an argument because he thought she had stolen his meth. The victim said Goucher not only shot her but struck her with the rifle itself and broke it over her leg. 

Upon contact, the victim had multiple open wounds on her right leg, side, and shoulder that were bleeding. She was transported to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center by paramedics with Lifeline Ambulance, where she was treated and released.       

Goucher was initially booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on Sunday on two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon – felony offenses. 

But without being able to locate the alleged weapon and having an uncooperative victim, on Tuesday Goucher was officially charged with assault/domestic violence and disorderly conduct – both misdemeanors.

Goucher was already on probation for a previous DUI when he failed to show up for court on a new aggravated DUI charge and two warrants for his arrest were issued with bonds set at $10,000 each. 

Goucher also had an additional warrant for another incident that occurred at the end of 2021 regarding a weapons violation charge. For that incident, he was charged with two counts of endangerment, two counts of disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon, and a count of threatening or intimidating. He declined to show up for court on that case as well and was issued a warrant with a bond set at $5,000.

According to reports from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, multiple deputies and Safford Police officers responded south of Safford at about 8:30 p.m. when a man reported picking up a woman who had been shot by a shotgun. The man said his wife told him to go to an address on Critter Lane and pick up the woman. When doing so, he said a black truck drove past him very closely and the victim said the suspect was the driver. The responding party said he then drove the injured woman to his residence and called the police.   

Law enforcement descended upon Goucher’s property on the 7000 block of Critter Lane armed with their patrol rifles and an armored vehicle from the Safford Police Department. The black Ford truck was located on the property but Goucher was nowhere to be seen. A search of the residence yielded a small amount of methamphetamine and a burnt spoon with apparent drug residue as well as blood evidence, but the weapon was not located.   

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Tyler James Goucher, 39

After not finding the suspect, the county’s K-9 Officer Kukui and Thatcher’s K-9 Officer Apollo also searched the property. The dogs and their handlers then followed a set of footprints to a neighboring motorhome, where Goucher was ultimately located hiding. He was then taken into custody and sedated at MGRMC due to “erratic behavior.” Upon being medically cleared, he was transported to jail.  

On Monday, the victim was interviewed by a deputy and she insisted on not pressing any charges and said she was armed with a knife during the shooting incident and had planned on stabbing Goucher. No knife as described by the victim was found. The victim also refused to sign a medical information release for prosecution and said she believed Goucher would benefit more from a rehabilitation center for his addictions and that prison would just make them worse.