Police: Suspect shoots at Flagstaff men for kayaking on his ‘property’

A Wikieup man is facing 15 felony counts after police say he fired on four Flagstaff men Saturday who were kayaking in a creek near his property, according to a Mohave County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Danny Eugene Button, 66, has been charged with three counts each of unlawful imprisonment; kidnapping; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and endangerment.

Just after 3:30 p.m. Saturday, deputies responded to Burro Creek Campgrounds at Highway 93 and Burro Creek Crossing Road regarding a weapons offense incident. Upon arrival, deputies contacted two men who said that they were in a group of four who were kayaking down the creek.

They said that they were about a mile downstream from the campgrounds when they heard a gunshot and saw an elderly man standing on the river bank with a large silver gun. The victims reported the male subject, later identified as Button, fired four more rounds, with one striking the water near their lead kayaker, who began paddling extremely fast and got away while Button ordered the remaining three kayakers out of the water at gunpoint.

The victims pleaded with the suspect to be released to go find their friend as he may be injured. Button, according to police, continued to hold them at gunpoint and told them that they were on his private property. Eventually, Button told the three kayakers to grab their boats and to get walking back to the campgrounds because they were on his property.

Deputies located the third kayaker down the road at a landing, waiting for the fourth kayaker who hadn’t returned. Search and Rescue members responded and initiated a search of the missing kayaker.

About 10 p.m., deputies identified the suspect to be Button. He was found at his property and taken into custody without incident. Button’s .45 caliber Ruger revolver was taken and placed into evidence.

During conversations with Button, he said that he was targeting shooting on his property, adding that the kayakers were trespassing. Button was transported and booked into the Mohave County Jail.

Search and Rescue members located the fourth kayaker, a 47-year-old victim, in good health around 10:30 a.m. Sunday about 7 to 8 miles south of Burro Creek Campgrounds. He said that he heard a couple shots before he realized that he was being shot at while kayaking.

He added that he purposely rolled his kayak upside down in the water as he was being shot at. The victim said that he stayed upside down as long as possible before he rolled back up and heard a male subject say, ‘This one is not going to miss.’ He said that he paddled as fast as he could to escape.

The fourth kayaker said he continued onto the group’s planned destination but didn’t make it before darkness, so he ended up camping and hiding out.

Deputies say that property owners do not have the rights to the waterways. Approximately 30 Search and Rescue members worked the search with DPS Kingman on Saturday and DPS Flagstaff of Sunday.

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