SAFFORD – Saturday evening, an officer was patrolling through Firth Park and had gotten out of their patrol vehicle to speak with a person at the park. At the time, the officer didn’t see anyone else in the park. Meanwhile, a man walked up and instantly the officer could see there was something wrong with his nose and blood was dripping from it. Lifeline Ambulance was called to the scene.
While they were waiting for the ambulance, the victim stated to the officer that he had gotten out of Ft Grant Prison the previous Tuesday. Because he was not on parole, they would not give him a bus ticket and he was dropped off at Walmart instead. The victim stated he was from Phoenix, and he only had $26, not enough money for a bus ticket back to Phoenix. The victim reported he had gone into Cricket and they felt sorry for him so they gave him a phone and 1 month service for $20. The victim called his sister who lives in New York and she bought him a bus ticket to Phoenix. His sister told him the bus left from the Giant Gas Station. The man said he was supposed to leave last Thursday and went to the Giant on Thursday, but soon found out he went to the wrong Giant and the bus had already left. He did not realize there was more than one Giant, so he had been hanging out at the park because he has no where else to go.
The officer asked the victim what happened, but was told by the man that he was not going to give names, but he did report that someone stole his phone. Lifeline then transported the victim to the hospital. The officer asked the other person in the park to tell what happened, but they stated they were not going to say anything.
A short time later, the officer was called to speak with the victim in the hospital, where it was reported that the victim was going to have to have reconstructive surgery on his nose, because his nasal cavity was completely crushed. He told authorities that he now wanted to press charges. The victim gave a first name of a man, but he didn’t know the last name. The victim knew the man who hit him hangs out at the park. The victim stated that a man had been using his phone to talk to his “dealer” for the last couple of days. The man kept walking off with his phone and the victim had to follow him around so he didn’t take off with it. The victim reported, that morning he was in the park at the south west table charging his phone when the man came up to him and wanted to use his phone. The victim told him no, so the man started calling him a “snitch.” They got into an argument and during the argument, the victim looked down and the man hit him twice with his fists, once on the left jaw and once on the nose. The victim thought he blacked out for about 25 seconds, and when he got up, his phone was gone. The officer had pulled up to the park as he was getting up off the ground. The victim stated that if he could get his phone back, he didn’t want to press charges, however, the officer explained that due to the seriousness of the crime, the state may press charges anyway. The victim stated that was fine, he just wanted his phone back.
Another officer who arrived at the park after Lifeline had been called, recalled seeing the man who reportedly hit the victim, walking about 30 yards from where the incident took place.
After leaving the hospital, the first officer went back to the park to get a statement from the man who was with the victim about what happened.The man was apparently intoxicated but told police what he had witnessed. His story corroborated what the victim had told police.
The next day, the officer made contact with the victim at the bus stop in Thatcher and asked if he had changed his mind and would be willing to press charges. The victim stated he would be willing to do that. He was on his way to Tucson to have surgery on his nose. The victim reported that he was able to shut off the stolen phone and get a new phone from Cricket. The victim did not have an address but would keep in contact with the police department with an updated address.
At the time of the report, the man who hit the victim has not been located.