On August 2, 2017, at approximately 4 PM, YCSO deputies were dispatched to the Sunset Point rest area off I17 for a weapons offense. Reports indicated an armed man fired a handgun in the air during some type of dispute.
Deputies contacted a 37-year-old man and his wife regarding the incident. The man/victim, a semi-truck driver, was parking his rig at the Sunset Point rest stop when a male driver in a BMW sedan cut him off and nearly caused a collision. The BMW then parked nearby. The victim chose to contact the driver to see if he was ok and warn him about the dangerous maneuver. While speaking with the driver, later identified as 31-year-old Eric Thomas Casey from Phoenix, his passenger, 23-year-old Justice Hunt from Phoenix, exited the BMW and threw her coffee in the victim’s face. Casey then produced a handgun and fired a shot in the air and the suspects drove away. A witness also provided a statement to deputies.
The victim was able to obtain the suspect vehicle license plate from his tractor’s dash cam and deputies issued a search and locate bulletin to surrounding law enforcement agencies describing the suspect vehicle and its occupants. Deputies also discovered the victim’s wife, who had remained seated in the truck, videotaped part of the confrontation on her phone. The video appeared to support the victim’s story and his apparent non-aggressive demeanor while speaking with the suspects.
A .45 caliber shell casing was recovered near the BMW’s parking space.
A short time later, deputies were notified that troopers from the Department of Public Safety located and stopped the suspect vehicle in an outlet mall parking lot in Anthem. The handgun was also found and seized. Deputies spoke with suspect Casey who admitted firing the warning shot because he felt threatened by the victim. Hunt acknowledged throwing coffee on the victim because he refused to leave.
Based on Casey’s admission that he fired the handgun, his reckless discharge of a weapon by firing a ‘warning shot’, threatening by conduct and words to cause serious physical injury to the victim involving the handgun, and brandishing/firing a handgun in a public place while acting recklessly endangering the victim and bystanders, Casey was arrested for Disorderly Conduct with a Weapon, Threatening, and Endangerment. Hunt was arrested for one count of Disorderly Conduct for throwing a cup of coffee on the victim.
Both suspects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov