Man Shot In Parking Lot Near Busy Intersection

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A verbal altercation between a man and woman Sunday night in the Pizza Hut parking lot resulted in another man being shot.

Payson Police Commander Don Engler said Joseph Weathersby, 46, of Payson, pulled into the Pizza Hut parking lot and saw a man and woman fighting shortly before 9 p.m.

According to police, Weathersby told the couple to stop arguing or he was going to call the police.

Hartley Johnson, 21, also of Payson, who police said was not involved in the initial altercation, approached Weathersby after hearing that comment.

As Johnson approached Weathersby, Weathersby fired one shot from a .45 revolver handgun, striking Johnson in the left shoulder.

Johnson was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released.

The police commander said it is possible Johnson may have been holding a weapon as he approached Weathersby.

Witnesses, he said, have told police that Johnson was brandishing a knife.

"(Johnson) was not involved in the altercation," Engler said. "He took it upon himself to approach Weathersby."

Police initially arrested Weathersby, who was one of the first people to call police about what occurred.

The police commander said they received a lot of 911 calls, with the first one being at 8:52 p.m.

Engler said after hearing from witnesses, police released Weathersby and will be forwarding the information to the Gila County Attorney for review and possible charges.

Engler said there are a lot of conflicting statements on what led up to the shooting.

"It could have been self-defense," he said.

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