A Valley man that reportedly entered Payson High School Sunday morning with a gun has turned himself in to police.

Tatem Lincoln Collins, 20, of Mesa, walked into Payson High School at 10:45 a.m. Sunday with a Taurus 9mm handgun, according to police.

Less than a day later, Collins walked into the Mesa Police Department and surrendered.

He now faces felony charges and is being held on a $100,000 bond in Gila County.

On Sunday, Collins reportedly confronted a staff member at PHS, claiming to be a Payson police officer. The employee locked himself in a room and called for help.

“Payson Police officers, with the assistance of DPS, GCSO and Tonto Apache Police, responded and established a perimeter on the school,” according to Police Chief Ron Tischer. “A team of officers entered the building in which the staff member was located and began a search for the subject.”

The employee was escorted out safely while officers searched each building on campus.

After reviewing video from the school cameras, they determined Collins left in a white Tacoma pickup with a female passenger.

“Through investigative leads, it was determined that the suspects' vehicle may have been seen at a local hotel on Saturday night,” he said. “Tonto Apache Police and casino security reviewed their video and located the vehicle leaving the casino a short time after the call at the high school. Following up on that lead, officers located an address in Mesa for the suspect.”

As Payson officers were in contact with Mesa Police Department requesting assistance, Collins’ family members “convinced him to turn himself in at the Mesa Police Department.”

Payson officers picked up Collins early Monday morning at the Maricopa County Jail and returned him to Payson. Collins’ vehicle was towed back to Payson for processing.

The handgun was in the truck.

“This case was brought to a safe conclusion through the extensive help of cooperation between law enforcement, media and social media. The post on Facebook was shared over 900 times and over 80,000 people viewed the message. The Payson Police Department would like to thank everyone that assisted in bringing this incident to conclusion,” Tischer said.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Avoid obscene, hateful, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful.
Be Nice. No name-calling, racism, sexism or any sort of -ism degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. Real names only!