Trailside Shooter Indicted For Murder

Kuenzli's killer to be arraigned

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Harold Fish, the Phoenix man who killed local hiker Grant Kuenzli, said he shot in self-defense and believed his life was in danger. Fish was indicted for second-degree murder Thursday.

A Flagstaff grand jury indicted Harold Fish on a charge of second-degree murder Thursday in the shooting death of a Payson man.

The indictment stated that "Harold A. Fish, without premeditation, knowing that his conduct would cause death, caused the death of Grant Edward Kuenzli, a class one felony."

The 57-year-old Glendale man shot and killed Kuenzli, a Payson Humane Society volunteer, May 11, telling Coconino County Sheriff's detectives that he was in fear for his life. Kuenzli was unarmed and Fish suffered no injuries during the encounter.

Fish was finishing a 10-mile hike south of Clint's Well when he encountered Kuenzli, 43, who was camping with his dog and two shelter dogs.

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Grant Kuenzli, a volunteer at the Payson Humane Society and with Paws in the Park, was shot and killed at a remote trailhead in May.

According to sheriff's office reports, two of the dogs ran toward Fish. Believing he was under attack, Fish said he fired a warning shot into the ground and the dogs dispersed.

Fish said he looked up to see Kuenzli running toward him with a "crazed look in his eyes," allegedly threatening to kill him. Fish fired three rounds from his semi-automatic handgun into Kuenzli's chest, killing him.

The sheriff's office initial determination that the shooting was in self-defense outraged many people in Payson who knew Kuenzli as a gentle and non-violent man.

Coconino County Attorney Terry Hance said he received more phone calls, letters, and e-mails about the case than any similar case he could remember and said the conclusion of self-defense by sheriff's investigators was "terribly premature."

In June, Hance's office made a formal recommendation to the grand jury that Fish be indicted for second-degree murder.

Fish's attorney, Melvin McDonald, said the dogs were vicious and that his client was justified in defending himself.

A grand jury's job is to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. The proceedings are confidential and closed to the public.

Fish is set to be arraigned at 10 a.m., July 30, at the Coconino County Superior Courthouse.

See related Story: Grand jury to decide fate of trailside shooter

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