SPD submits charging requests against CDO wrestler and father for incident at Safford wrestling tournament

Police request charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution against Canyon Del Oro wrestler Michael Buda Jr., and disorderly conduct and interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution against his father, Michael Buda Sr.

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – After a lengthy investigation that included multiple interviews and an examination of video surveillance, the Safford Police Department has requested charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution be filed on Canyon Del Oro wrestler, Michael Shane Buda Jr., 18, of Tucson.

The charges stem from an incident at a Safford wrestling tournament Feb. 2, in which Buda Jr. tackled a Salpointe Catholic assistant wrestling coach after being disqualified from a match for striking his Salpointe Catholic opponent in his neck. (See Gila Herald: CDO wrestler and father questioned by police after brawl at sectional tournament in Safford) After being disqualified, Buda Jr. unleashed a profanity-laden tirade against the assistant coach and ended up tackling him after his father, Michael Shane Buda Sr., started to enter the athletic area while spewing profanity-laced jarbs at the coach as well. Reportedly, the assistant coach was also saying something to Buda Jr.’s younger brother as well, who had also come down to the rope barrier.

After the assault, the parties were separated and Buda Sr. was restrained by a choke hold by another Salpointe Catholic coach and also by Safford wrestling coach Herman Andrews. Andrews then escorted Buda Sr. away from the scene. He and Buda Jr. were told not to return to the athletic area. The assistant coach, who is also a deputy with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, said his school has had issues with Buda Jr. attacking a different wrestler in the past and inquired to the CDO coaches if they were going to reign Buda Jr. in or just let him continue to act out in such a manner. The CDO coaches allegedly told him to worry about his own wrestlers and they would handle their own. That, however, was not the case.

Officers were called to the scene and both Budas fled the area on foot toward Walmart. They were eventually apprehended and interviewed regarding the incident. At that time, Buda Jr. initially denied being involved in an altercation but then later said he only tackled the assistant coach after the coach had put his father in a headlock. However, video surveillance showed that not to be the case and Buda Jr. later recanted his story.

During their encounter with police, officers reported that Buda Sr. and other members of his family, including wife and mother, were argumentative and vulgar. Both Buda Sr. and Buda Jr. were told not to return to the tournament but they ignored that direction.

Video report by Jon Johnson

After being found back at the tournament, a Safford officer informed them if they didn’t leave they would be arrested. Shortly afterward, Buda Sr. reportedly began to repeatedly call 911 demanding to speak with a Safford Police Department supervisor in a blatant misuse of the emergency system. A Safford sergeant was eventually responded and spoke with Buda Sr. about the situation.

The officers’ reports were sent to the Graham County Attorney’s Office for review and possible charging.

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