Shooting Victim Remains In Icu

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Payson police continue to investigate the shooting of 17-year-old Payson High School senior Susan Crim.

PPD commander Don Engler said officers believe the shooting of Crim, by 18-year-old Fred Ortiz, was probably an accident.

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Susan Crim

"But we still don't know if negligence was involved. We'll compile our review and submit it to the (Gila) county attorney (Daisy Flores) who will make the final decision on whether to file charges or not."

Engler also said officers were able to interview Crim for the first time Jan. 23 in the intensive care unit of Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn where she has been hospitalized since the shooting, which occurred about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 19.

From interviews with Crim, Ortiz and two other witnesses, police have been able to piece together the events surrounding the shooting that occurred at a home on Palmer Drive in the Country Club Vista subdivision.

Police reports say Ortiz had recently purchased a .45 caliber semi automatic handgun and earlier in the day had been practice firing it at a local range.

PPD Sgt. Tom Tieman said officers believe Ortiz might not have been totally familiar with how the handgun operated.

From interviews, investigators learned Crim, Ortiz and another person were in a bedroom in the home when the shooting occurred.

"We think she had the weapon and noticed it was loaded so she gave it to (Ortiz) to be unloaded," Engler said.

In the exchange, or immediately afterward, the handgun was fumbled and Ortiz attempted to grab it.

Reports say, in the effort to secure the pistol, it went off, sending a single bullet through the victim's bicep and into her neck.

Following the shooting, Payson Fire Department personnel responded and treated Crim at the scene before she was airlifted to Scottsdale.

Hospital officials would not comment on the condition of the victim and Crim's father, Jeff, told police the family did not want her health information made public.

Police reports indicate, however, a possibility of partial paralysis exists.

Crim had been a member of Key Club at Payson High School and, as an 11-year-old, was a medal winner in basketball and track and field events at the Goodwill Games.

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