Shooting Story Was A Tall Tale

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A Roundup reporter found himself in a possible murder story June 26 when a man showed up on his doorstep claiming he had just witnessed a shooting.

Pete Aleshire said he was sleeping soundly when his dog began barking incessantly around 4 a.m.

When he walked onto his front porch, Aleshire saw a young man standing in the driveway. The man was later identified as Michael Howery.

Howery told Aleshire that his friend had been shot on Cracker Jack Mine Road, from where he had just walked looking for help.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Havey responded to Cracker Jack Mine Road while Payson Police Department Officer Billy Hoffman went to Aleshire’s home, said Gila County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Scott.

While Havey checked the area, the Payson Fire Department stood by on Highway 87 to provide medical assistance if needed.

Howery told Hoffman that he and Wesley Nelson had met some people while driving a Polaris Ranger ATV and had gotten into their truck.

Howery claimed someone in the truck started to play with a gun and he jumped out and ran up a hill when he heard a gunshot and saw Nelson fall to the ground, Scott said.

“Havey located the Polaris Ranger that the possible victim and Howery were using, but never located the possible victim,” he said.

Hoffman brought Howery to Cracker Jack Mine Road where a hat was found, but no body.

A sergeant later located Nelson at his home sleeping and unharmed.

Howery was arrested on charges of false reporting.

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