After a fight in a Star Valley gravel yard, officers arrested four men at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon and booked another after a three-hour search.
The men and a female teen had reportedly met up at the D.D. Haught gravel pit in Star Valley when a fight broke out just after 3 p.m.
After a scuffle, Richard Dabney, 21, of Payson, reportedly fired a shotgun, the shell striking the ground.
Two men working in the area later told police they hadn’t noticed anything was going on until they heard the shot. When they looked over, they saw a fight in progress, said Gila County Sheriff’s Det. George Ratliff.
Dabney, along with Raheem Royal, 19, Cody Harris, 18, and a 17-year-old female, all of Payson, jumped into 18-year-old Clayton Duhammell’s pickup and the group fled the scene, Ratliff said.
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office got calls of shots fired in the area and officers from Payson, the Forest Service and the sheriff’s office began looking for Duhammell’s pickup.
Since the two deputies from the sheriff’s office were spread out over the county — one near Highway 188 and 87 and the other near Strawberry — Ratliff and a Tonto Basin deputy at the Payson station rushed to Star Valley.
Over the police radio, Ratliff heard Forest Service Officer Dan Adams report having five on the ground at gunpoint near Tyler Parkway and the back exit of Chaparral Pines.
After hearing the vehicle description, Adams had spotted it shortly thereafter. He had Dabney, Duhammell, Royal, Harris and the female juvenile lay on the ground until backup arrived.
After searching everyone and securing the scene, Ratliff still didn’t know what was going on at the gravel pit. When he arrived there, he found a spent shotgun shell, but no one else involved in the fight.
Kenneth Rogers, 26, of Star Valley had fled the scene with a male juvenile, Ratliff said.
Reportedly, the juvenile with Rogers had stolen $200 from a friend of Dabney’s and Dabney was trying to get the money back, Ratliff said.
The men had been texting each other about the money and the male juvenile allegedly told Dabney to meet him and Rogers at the gravel pit and bring backup because they had guns, Ratliff said.
It took three hours for officers to find Rogers and the juvenile. They were located at 190 Cornerstone Way, he said.
Dabney was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; Rogers, possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, hindering prosecution and false reporting to law enforcement; Duhammell, driving under the influence of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana and false reporting to law enforcement; Royal, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and Harris, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Additional charges may be filed against the male juvenile. No information was available about any charges against the female juvenile.
It took some time to get the men booked and five volunteers with the sheriff’s posse guarded the men in the courtroom.
Having volunteers available is a huge help, Ratliff said.
Posse members help secure crime scenes, post sex offender notifications and assist with search warrants, all for free.
“They are volunteering their time and they don’t even get uniforms, they have to buy their own,” he said. “They need to be recognized for their service.”