Tower Climber Facing Charges



Camn Boal, the 40-year-old Payson man who climbed a communications tower Tuesday as a suicide threat, is in Globe jail on felony charges, police said Thursday.

Police booked Boal for felony criminal damage, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, said Payson Police Lt. Donald Garvin.

Boal’s bond is set for $3,500.

Thursday morning, Payson Regional Medical Center released Boal, who had suffered a broken ankle, into police custody.

Wife Michelle Williams-Boal said her husband was “a devastated, anguished man who has given up.”

The three-hour standoff began shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday as Boal stumbled toward a group of moms and their children as they sat in the front yard of a West Frontier Street home, a witness said.

Eyewitness and local mom Megan Byus said Boal looked intoxicated, stumbling and holding what appeared to be a bag.

“It really scared me,” Byus said. “I didn’t know if he had a weapon.”

Williams-Boal said her husband was on morphine for pain, Zoloft for depression, and may have consumed beer.

Boal has been out of work since January. His child’s medical problems caused too many absences, his wife said.

The family, now living in the Valley, has tried to move back to Payson. Williams-Boal said her child breathes better here, but two separate rate landlords denied the family housing after giving them hope they could move.

Boal’s criminal record — drunken driving and disorderly conduct — caused the first denial, and the other landlord decided a two-bedroom home was too small for the family’s six children.

The second denial, Williams-Boal said, was the last hope. “He was trying to save us and provide for us because he can’t do it in life. He thought he could provide for us in death.”

Boal began climbing the tower, which Byus said is when she called 911.

“It was very dramatic,” she said. “He was screaming so we had to turn on the TV really loudly.”

Hours passed; Byus and the other moms were trapped inside. The host mom made a spaghetti dinner.

“We were all panicking on the inside, but we had to stay calm to keep the children calm,” Byus said.

At the communications tower, negotiators began talking Boal down shortly after 3 p.m.

Williams-Boal said she helped talk her husband down. She lied and told him one of the landlords changed his mind and would allow the family to rent.

Boal at one point told officers, “You’re going to have to shoot me,” Garvin said. “Officers showed great restraint and took him into custody without lethal force.”

Meanwhile, Byus and the moms she was with, scared shots would fly, had the kids play trains on the floor.

Boal finally hit ground at 6:08 p.m., and dropped the knife he had when police arrested him.

“I’m scared for my husband. I’m scared for us, too,” Williams-Boal said.

Police said they closed West Frontier Street to cars and pedestrians. On Main Street, where the tower was in sight, a police officer sat in a parking lot monitoring the situation, and down the street, small crowds watched the event unfold.

At an intersection near East Frontier, a couple of residents stood on a hill with binoculars, watching the drama unfold.

Boal will receive counseling from Rim Guidance. An investigation is ongoing. Garvin said police are still consulting with the county attorney’s office about charges, and a psychological evaluation is forthcoming.

Gila County had the second highest suicide rate in the state in 2007, according to the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services.

Rim Guidance Center offers a 24-hour crisis hotline at (928) 474-3303.


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