By Jon Johnson
FORT THOMAS – The man who fatally shot himself alongside U.S. Highway 70 near Fort Thomas on Saturday was a suspect in a child molestation case out of Gila County.
The incident occurred just east of Desert Sage Road near Fort Thomas. According to the Graham County Dispatch, authorities were notified of the situation at about 4 p.m.
The man, identified as Kent Keith Power, 45, of Gila County, was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle driven by his sister. After an argument, Power demanded to be let out of the vehicle and his sister pulled over and dropped him off on the side of the highway and left, according to a preliminary report given by Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred.
Sometime thereafter, Power pulled out a pistol and shot himself in his head. While an initial report to Graham County Dispatch advised that they believed the man to have been hit by a car, a separate caller advised that he had seen Power shoot himself.
Multiple people responded to the scene and attempted to save Power, but emergency medical helicopter Native Air 17 based out of Kearny was called off at 4:25 p.m. by a Graham County Sheriff’s Office deputy when it was obvious Power had died.
According to a Sheriff’s Office news release, Power had a gunshot wound to the right side of his head and a handgun was found next to his body.
Power’s sister and mother both contacted the Sheriff’s Office a couple of hours after the incident. Shortly afterward, the Sheriff’s Office was also contacted by a deputy with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office who advised he was looking for a child molestation suspect by the name of Kent Power. The deputy then sent over a picture of Power and he was positively identified as his suspect. On Tuesday, Gila County Sgt. Don Engler confirmed Power was wanted for questioning in a child molestation case that is still under investigation. He told the Gila Herald that authorities were looking to interrogate Power to build a case against him and had initially sought him out Friday.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety, Pima Police Department, Lifeline Ambulance and Fort Thomas Fire Department assisted at the scene and Power was removed by a local funeral home at about 6:35 p.m. Saturday.
The incident remains under investigation by the Graham County Sheriff’s Office.
This article was updated Tuesday morning to include comment from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.