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Cocopah police chief under investigation
Cocopah Police Chief James Spurgeon is under investigation by tribal officials and Yuma police after his service weapon was allegedly found in the home of an acquaintance by the person's 6-year-old son, who pointed it at his father.
Sgt. Clint Norred of the Yuma Police Department confirmed the investigation on Monday, saying upon its completion, a report will be submitted to the Yuma County Attorney's Office for review of possible charges.
According to YPD's investigation, Spurgeon visited an acquaintance Friday night at the Rio Santa Fe Apartments, 1600 W. 12th St., and allegedly left his handgun behind. The gun was found the next morning by the 6-year-old child, who pointed it at his father, said police.
The father, immediately recognizing the handgun as being real and not a toy, took it away from his son. When the father asked his son where he found the gun, which was loaded at the time, he said he found it on the floor of the apartment.
The allegation is Spurgeon left the handgun behind, which was then obtained by a child and thus endangered the two adults and two young children who live in the apartment.
“Police Chief James Spurgeon is a veteran in law enforcement with nearly 30 years of experience,” a press release issued by the Cocopah Tribe stated. “This action is definitely out of character for Chief Spurgeon. The Cocopah Indian Tribe is thankful no one was injured and an internal investigation will be conducted.”
Ana Corpus, director of communications for the Cocopah Indian Tribe, said an internal investigation is also under way and that the tribe and police department will hold further comment until YPD's investigation has been completed.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.