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Tue, May 17

Briefs: Felony charges recommended against ex-Arizona prisons boss

Police on Wednesday said they are recommending felony charges against former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan in an encounter at his Tempe home nearly two weeks ago in which he was accused of pointing a gun at officers. (Adobe image)

Police on Wednesday said they are recommending felony charges against former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan in an encounter at his Tempe home nearly two weeks ago in which he was accused of pointing a gun at officers. (Adobe image)

TEMPE – Police on Wednesday said they are recommending felony charges against former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan in an encounter at his Tempe home nearly two weeks ago in which he was accused of pointing a gun at officers.

Investigators recommend that prosecutors charge Ryan with aggravated assault on a peace officer and unlawful discharge of a firearm, Tempe police said in a statement.

Police have said that officers went to Ryan’s home on Jan. 6 after receiving a report of a person with a possible a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

They said Ryan was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time, had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to one of his hands, initially refused calls to exit his home and pointed a gun at officers standing behind an armored vehicle before surrendering.

After he was taken into custody, Ryan was brought to a hospital for treatment, police have said.

Police have declined to say whether Ryan has been released from the hospital, citing privacy concerns. They also declined to say whether Ryan has been arrested.

Ryan retired as corrections director in September 2019.

Efforts to seek comment on behalf of Ryan, who doesn’t have a published phone number, were unsuccessful.

Airman gets life in prison for death of Mennonite woman

FLAGSTAFF – An Air Force airman has been sentenced to life in prison in the death of a Mennonite woman whom he kidnapped from northwestern New Mexico, fatally shot and left in the freezing cold outside Flagstaff, Arizona.

Mark Gooch, 22, was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping in October. The body of Sasha Krause, 27, was found face-down in a forest clearing with her hands bound with duct tape. She had been shot in the head.

Gooch expressed no emotion when he was sentenced Wednesday in Coconino County Superior Court.

Prosecutors argued Gooch was driven by a disdain for the Mennonite faith that he grew up with in Wisconsin, exhibited by text message exchanges with his brothers. Gooch’s attorney tried to raise doubt with jurors that Gooch was responsible.

Gooch and Krause didn’t know each other but both grew up in big families and in the Mennonite church. Krause joined, but Gooch rejected the faith and enlisted in the Air Force where he worked as a mechanic.

Authorities used cellphone and financial records and surveillance video to tie Gooch to the crimes.

Buckeye police say 3-year-old boy died from a medical issue

BUCKEYE, Ariz. - Police in the Phoenix suburb of Buckeye said the death of a 3-year-old boy at a home was due to a medical issue.

They said officers were called to the scene around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The child was not breathing and police said first responders unsuccessfully tried to revive the boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police began an investigation to determine if the death was suspicious and announced Thursday that it was due to an undisclosed medical issue.

The boy’s name wasn’t immediately released by police.

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