No charges filed against Cocopah police chief
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has declined to file charges against Cocopah Police Chief James Spurgeon, whose service weapon was allegedly found in the home of an acquaintance by the person's 6-year-old son.
Jerry Cobb, public information officer for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said after reviewing reports of the incident, the case was dismissed because prosecutors felt there was no reasonable likelihood of a conviction.
Cobb said the case was transferred to his office last week due to a conflict of interest in the Yuma County Attorney's Office. Roger Nelson, chief criminal deputy county attorney for Yuma County, said the transfer occurred because Spurgeon is a police chief and the Yuma County office often prosecutes cases from the Cocopah Police Department.
According to Ana Corpus, director of communications for the Cocopah Indian Tribe, Spurgeon is currently off duty on a leave of absence, but she could not specify whether it was for personal or administrative reasons.
She said that the tribe is continuing its own internal investigation.
The Yuma Police Department, which investigated the incident, said that in August, Spurgeon visited an acquaintance 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 allegedly pointed it at his father.
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.
Spurgeon was facing allegations of endangerment because after he left his handgun behind, it was obtained by a child and thus endangered the two adults and two young children who live in the apartment.
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.