Man Kills Teen, Self At Childs Campout


A St. Patrick's Day party at Childs Campground turned deadly Saturday, when two Phoenix residents were fatally shot while surrounded by 200 campers.

The two campers 18-year-old Jessica Marie Ramirez and 26-year-old John Steven Puckett were both pronounced dead at the scene by emergency crews.

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department, Ramirez and Puckett had just met that morning. They were introduced by friends on their way to the holiday campout at Childs west of Strawberry.

That night, between 150 and 200 people partied at the campground to the music of a live band.

Investigators are still unsure exactly what happened inside the three-room tent where Puckett and Ramirez were talking.

"What we've been able to determine at this point, is that Puckett shot Jessica with a 9 mm Ruger once in the chest," Yavapai Det. Sgt. Ron Phifer said. "He then shot himself in the head. It was probably 10:45 p.m. when the shooting took place. We got the call at 10:51 p.m. that's probably how long it took someone to get a signal on their cell phone."

The sergeant said witnesses flocked to the tent as soon as the shots were fired, and immediately tried administering first aid to the girl laying just inside the entrance of the tent. It was too late.

"Both were pronounced dead at the scene," he said.

Phifer said police are still going through witness statements and conducting interviews, but haven't been able to get a clear picture of the events leading up to the shooting.

"They had just met; they weren't boyfriend and girlfriend; there wasn't any argument that we know of," Phifer said. "We don't have an actual eyewitness at this point, just a lot of people in the area who heard what was happening."

With campers from Phoenix, Camp Verde and the Rim country at the party, Phifer said investigators are still searching for someone who can help put the pieces together.

Anyone with information may call Phifer at (520) 567-7710.

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