Small Town News


Rely only on facts, not rumors about Saturdays shooting

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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This weekend, the Verde Valley made headlines for an apparent brawl and deadly shooting that took place in the parking lot at Wal-Mart in Cottonwood late Saturday night.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which is handling the investigation, police responded to the alleged assault of a female employee by several suspects.

As officers arrived on the scene, the suspects allegedly attacked them, according to DPS. During the brawl, several shots were fired, though DPS has not said who shot whom nor who shot first, but in the end, police reported one officer was shot in the leg, one suspect was shot in the abdomen and one suspect was shot and killed.

At least eight suspects were arrested and eight police officers were involved in the fight. The surviving gunshot victims were flown to Flagstaff while the officers were treated for cuts, bruising and lacerations.

The details of the crime, information about the suspects and possible motivations for this incident will be released as police conduct their investigation and officially reveal more about what happened and why.

In rural Arizona, we are not used to such explosions of violence, especially a call that involves a large number of officers and results in shots fired and death.

Surely we understand that rare and occasional violent crimes are committed by both visitors and locals despite our communities' best efforts to prevent crime and handle problems peacefully, but Saturday night's shoot-out is more than simply out of character for the Verde Valley, it is an anomaly.

We were notified about the incident shortly after midnight Sunday morning from numerous sources and got the details posted to websites as soon as they were released at DPS. Since then, we have heard suggestions and theories from numerous directions, some tame, others seemingly imagined from a movie screenplay, but none officially from law enforcement, which is still conducting what looks to be a long, formal investigation.

When a crime, especially a violent and public one, is committed, we immediately look for answers. Sometimes in that search, we conjecture what-ifs and maybes into fact to help connect fragmented details to rationalize what we know into a coherent narrative.

We would ask bur readers and neighbors to refrain from spreading rumors or theorizing possibilities until there are official statements made and charges filed against the suspects.

What we do know for certain is that one of the gunshot victims is a 31-year-old Cottonwood police officer, who was wounded in the line of duty. This 10-year veteran of the force is expected to make a full recovery. Our thoughts are with this officer and his family and we hope that he can return home as soon as possible.

We will inform our readers about this incident as facts come to light. Be sure to pick up future copies of The Camp Verde Journal and visit for more on this story as it develops.

— Christopher Fox Graham Managing Editor

Copyright 2015 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: March 25, 2015

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