|One year later: Timeline of calls|
Capt. Eben Bratcher with the Yuma Sheriff's Dept. details when each call came as residents of Yuma County had their day torn apart by a series of shootings on June 2, 2011.
|One year later: The scene on day of multiple shootings|
One year ago Saturday, multiple shootings were reported in Yuma County, including one in downtown Yuma. This was the scene last year as Yuma Police officers pieced together what happened in Yuma while Sheriff's officials investigated in Wellton.
|Shooting on 2nd Ave|
Yuma Police and other area law enforcement responded to a shooting on 2nd Ave near Giss Pkwy.
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5:07 a.m. - First call came in. Yuma County Sheriff's deputies respond to a residence at Avenue 22 1/2E and Highway 80, where they found one victim who had been shot. That victim was taken by air ambulance to a Phoenix hospital and is listed in critical condition
8:19 a.m. - A second victim was found at a residence near Avenue 35E and Highway 80. The victim had been killed.
9:21 a.m. - Yuma police respond to an office on 2nd Avenue, where they found the body of Jerrold Shelley.
9:43 a.m. - Deputies respond to another call at Avenue 32E and Highway 80, where two victims were killed.
10:20 a.m. - Deputies respond to Avenue 36E and Highway 80, where another victim was killed.
10:47 a.m. - Deputies respond to Blaisdell area, where they found the body of Carey Hal Dyess, 73. Dyess, who police have identified as the suspect in the killings, was killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
UPDATED 9:33 p.m. - A 73-year-old Foothills man went on a shooting spree Thursday morning across Yuma County, killing five people and wounding another before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
The man, identified as Carey Hal Dyess, was found dead inside his silver Mazda in the area of Blaisdell and Highway 95 at 10:47 a.m. by Yuma County sheriff’s deputies. He died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden said the murders happened in multiple jurisdictions, with four of the victims killed in the county and one within the city of Yuma. The apparent suicide of the suspect also happened in the county.
“There are a lot of questions we can’t answer, a lot of questions we won’t be able to answer until we get further into the investigation,” Ogden said.
Yuma Police Chief Jerry Geier added the murders were all connected. Neither he nor Ogden, however, would elaborate on how the victims and suspect were connected.
“This was not a random act,” Geier said. “These victims were targeted.”
However, Cpl. David Rodriguez of the Wellton Police Department said the shootings were believed to stem from a bitter divorce involving Dyess.
Capt. Eben Bratcher, who was the incident commander for the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office in the joint investigation into the murders, said YCSO received the first calls on the shootings at 5:07 a.m. when deputies and the Wellton Police Department responded to a residence at Avenue 22-1/2E and Highway 80. There, they found a female victim who had sustained several gunshot wounds.
Rodriguez said the woman was flown to a Phoenix-area hospital. She is reportedly in critical condition.
“She was shot four times in the face. When we got on scene, she was alert and breathing,” Rodriguez said. “She was friends with the ex-wife.”
Bratcher said the next call came into the sheriff’s office at about 8:19 a.m. from a residence at Avenue 35E and Highway 80, where deputies found the body of a deceased woman in the yard.
Then, around 9:21 a.m., the Yuma Police Department responded to a shooting in the 300 block of 2nd Avenue in Yuma. According to Yuma police, an elderly male suspect, now identified as Dyess, entered the law office of Jerrold Shelley and shot and killed him.
“There was an administrative-type person in the office at the time. It is my understanding that when the suspect came in, he instructed that person to either get down or move, and that is when the shooting happened,” Geier said. “I can’t tell you exactly what was said or what was said between he and Shelley.”
Shelley represented Dyess’ ex-wife in their 2006 divorce. He was closing his office Thursday to move to smaller quarters before retiring at the end of the year.
Yuma resident Joe Faria, who lives at the Regal Lodge Motel, said had he left his residence a few minutes earlier, he would have been walking past the attorney’s office about the time the shooting happened.
Faria said he was getting ready to leave his room at about 9:15 a.m. but was distracted by something on television and continued watching the program.
“I heard all the sirens. All I saw was undercover cops, police, Border Patrol and sheriff deputies going up and down Giss Parkway. I thought, what the hell was going on? It was incredible.”
At 9:43 a.m., deputies responded to another reported shooting at Avenue 35E and Highway 80, where they found two deceased victims. A call of a fourth shooting came in at 10:20 a.m. Deputies responding to that scene found another deceased victim at a residence at Avenue 36E and Highway 80.
Bratcher said the final call came in at 10:47 a.m., which is when they located the body of Dyess, the person they believed to be the suspect, in the area of Blaisdell off Highway 95. He died from what appears to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“One of the things that really helped is we have a community that gets involved,” Ogden said. “The information that helped us put this together was by people actively in the community that called us and gave us information to help us find our suspect, and made sure we had all the victims.”
“Like all Arizonans, I am horrified at the news of today’s tragic shooting deaths in and around Yuma. Many questions remain unanswered at this point, but I know that law enforcement and investigators will be working to piece together this tragedy in the days ahead,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement released to the media. “In the meantime, this cruel violence has left a void in our hearts. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy and their families, as well as the Yuma community.”
Wellton Mayor James Deermer said he still didn’t have a lot of information as of noon about the shootings and “rumors are floating around.”
“This is a tragedy for our community ... that’s true anywhere,” he said.
Yuma Mayor Al Krieger commended public safety officers for their swift response to the tragedy. “The situation has ended and now we’re sorting out the details.
“My sympathies to the families with this loss of life.”
As the ADHS/DBHS behavioral health services contractor for Yuma County, Cenpatico has counselors available to assist anyone who is having problems coping with the murders.
A person does not have to be a Cenpatico participant to use the counseling service. Anyone needing help should call 1-866-495-6735 at any time.
Check back at YumaSun.com as this story develops.