Coconino County Sheriff Sees Increase In “Woods” Parties

Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies have seen an increase in the occurrence of “secret” underage alcohol parties occurring in unimproved wooded areas throughout Coconino County. According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies have seen numerous underage subjects who are intoxicated to the level they can no longer make rational decisions and are not able to protect themselves from predatory adults who also frequent these events.

Deputies have also seen a significant increase in the number of individuals present who are in possession of firearms.

On October 4, 2015 Sheriff’s dispatchers received an anonymous Crime Stop Call reporting a large underage “Woods Party” in the area of School House Draw with a large number of attendees. The caller also advised of multiple physical fights involving intoxicated party goers. A Sheriff’s sergeant who was supervising the deputies assigned to the Flagstaff Patrol Division coordinated a response consisting of himself and two deputies. As the responding deputies approached the intersection of Forest Service roads 762 and 867 they observed a large bonfire with numerous vehicles parked around it. As the deputies approached a large gathering of people they saw numerous subjects run or stagger into a tree line located south east of the group’s location.

The sergeant went from vehicle to vehicle checking each one for occupants. He observed a maroon Chevrolet Suburban with the front passenger door wide open. He observed a male in the driver’s seat who was passed out and slumping over with his head resting on the steering wheel. The sergeant attempted to wake the subject and advised him to get out of the vehicle to which he responded by threatening to kill him and telling the sergeant he was going to die. The sergeant removed the subject from his vehicle. While this occurred, another member of a group of approximately 25-30 people who had gathered to the watch the interaction, began to agitate the crowd with negative comments regarding this presence of the Sheriff’s Office. The sergeant was able to remove the subject from the vehicle, the subject resisted and a physical fight resulted. He forced the intoxicated subject to the ground and the struggle continued. At one point the sergeant observed a semi-automatic pistol stuffed in the subject’s waist band. He disarmed the subject and was eventually able to restrain him.

The sergeant yelled at the crowd for anyone else who was armed with a gun to separate themselves from the large group and walk to the north of where they were. Five other armed subjects complied by leaving the group and complied with being disarmed by other deputies on scene. In total six firearms were collected from various individuals in attendance at the party. The subject who resisted the sergeant was arrested for Threating and Intimidating, Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer and later the charge of Resisting Arrest was added by the County Attorney’s Office. The other subject in the crowd that was agitating the large group was arrested and charged with Minor Consumption of Alcohol and an arrest warrant that was not related to the incident. Deputies also identified several minors, persons under the age of 18, and provided courtesy rides for them back to their parents/guardians residence to turn them back to their custody.

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