KINGMAN – Details remain scant as investigators continue to look into two officer-involved shootings within the last week.
Information is limited in Saturday’s fatal shooting involving a Mohave County Sheriff’s deputy. Kenneth Jack Kennedy, 34, of Kingman, was pulled over early Saturday morning, though it was not explained why. According to Bullhead City police spokeswoman Emily Fromelt, at some point Kennedy tried to drive away in a GMC Yukon that was slightly lifted when he allegedly rammed two police vehicles and drove at a deputy. The deputy fired at Kennedy, killing him.
Kennedy’s wife was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, but wasn’t harmed. She was interviewed and released. Police have searched the vehicle and have found nothing illegal.
According to Mohave County Superior Court records, Kennedy had an arrest warrant issued for him Sept. 6, when he failed to turn himself in for a prison term stemming from a guilty plea to second-degree burglary.
The deputy involved has been with the Sheriff’s office for eight years and has been placed on routine paid administrative leave. There is no dash or body camera footage. The Bullhead City Police Department is handling the investigation.
A man shot by a Lake Havasu City SWAT team is still in critical condition. Kingman Police Deputy Chief Rusty Cooper said 21-year-old Charlie Gonzalez’ condition is critical, but stable since he was hospitalized after being shot during a raid Oct. 27. The names of the officers involved will not be released until interviews are complete.
“Each department does things differently,” he said. “We have our pace and rhythm.”
The SWAT team and sheriff’s deputy incidents are two of five officer involved shootings in Mohave County since Sept. 19. Kingman Police Department was involved in the shooting deaths of Paula Dell Phillips, 35, on Aug. 29, and Jeffrey Clair Cave, 53, a month later on Sept. 29. Phillips and Cave both lived in Kingman.
Phillips’ shooting was ruled justified. The Mohave County Attorney’s Office determined she had obtained a shotgun, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, brought attention to herself by calling 911 and pointing the shotgun at Officer Evan Hopper, suggesting she committed “suicide by cop.” Hopper has returned to duty.
Bullhead City Police Department’s investigation of the Cave shooting has been turned over to the county attorney’s office, according to Chief Deputy Attorney Jace Zack.
“It’s currently under review,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get through it by next week.”
Cave was killed when Kingman Police Detectives Dennis Gilbert and Nicholas Schmitz fired their weapons while serving a search warrant for a stolen firearm. Gilbert was hit by gunfire during the raid and hospitalized. He’s been released, still recovering from his injuries and still on paid administrative leave. Schmitz has been released from administrative leave and is back on duty. Lt. James Brice had a bullet pass through his clothing, but was not injured.
A Bullhead City police officer shot a man during a domestic violence call Sept. 18. The officer was not injured and was placed on administrative leave. Lake Havasu City Police Department is investigating the incident.