Man turns self in after shooting stepson

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Richard Denton, 73, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shooting of his stepson.

Victim hospitalized, treated, and released

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – An elderly male self-surrendered to the Graham County Sheriff’s Office last Saturday night after allegedly shooting his stepson. 

Richard Denton, 73, was subsequently arrested and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of aggravated assault, discharging a firearm at an occupied structure, disorderly conduct, and endangerment. On Tuesday, The Graham County Attorney’s Office officially filed charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct with a weapon. Denton was assigned Dennis McCarthy as his public defender. 

The 56-year-old victim was taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released. 

According to Graham County Sheriff’s Office reports, the shooting took place inside a manufactured home in the 7000 block of E. San Jose Road. A subsequent search of the residence yielded a black Cold .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun with a loaded magazine and one in the chamber; a silver Colt semi-automatic pistol with a loaded magazine and one in the chamber; and a .38 caliber silver Smith & Wesson revolver with blood on it. The revolver had five expended .38-caliber casings loaded with one chamber completely empty. 

Investigators also located two bullet holes in pillows at the head of a bed and two more on top of the mattress. Multiple bullets and bullet fragments were also collected from the scene, as well as a blood sample from a puddle located next to the bedroom door. 

After shooting the victim, Denton apparently drove himself to the Sheriff’s Office in a silver Chevy Silverado wearing clothes bloodied from the victim. Upon finding the Sheriff’s Office closed and locked, Denton left on foot toward 8th Avenue. 

Shortly afterward, Graham County Dispatch received a call at 9:16 p.m. regarding a man shot in the arm at a residence on San Jose Road. One minute later, a deputy located Denton walking south on the 8th Avenue Bridge. Upon contact, Denton allegedly replied, “I’m the one you’re looking for” and then said he had shot at his stepson five times and struck him once. He also allegedly told the deputy that he had gone to the jail to turn himself in and locked up his truck with the keys in it so he wouldn’t commit further attacks. “I just didn’t want to hurt anyone else,” Denton allegedly said. He was then taken into custody. 

During subsequent police interviews, Denton allegedly said that he shot his stepson because he was “a prick and he wanted him out of the house.” Denton described kicking the window-unit AC out of the window and then entering the bedroom and shooting the victim in the arm. Denton allegedly said he wasn’t intentionally trying to kill the victim and that he was just shooting to scare him and was actually aiming over his head. Denton said he got the gun from the victim and said he was told it had previously been used in a homicide in Reno, Nevada.

Denton also advised that he had recently stopped taking his prescribed medication and he is prone to fits of blind rage.

The Smith & Wesson revolver, along with its shell casings and bullet fragments were placed into evidence.