Safford police officers dealt with some unruly bar patrons last Sunday night, bouncing back and forth between the American Club and Shane’s Place. Officer first responded to reports of a fight in progress on Main Street at approximately 12:20 a.m. When police arrived there were patrons standing outside the bar but there was no visible altercation in progress. The bar maid told the officer that she had been busy and hadn’t seen anything. A man and woman stopped the officer as he was leaving and said that a man named Ric Sandoval had been in the bar and told people that he had a gun.
The officer went around the corner and found Ric Sandoval and Angel Sandoval at Shane’s Place. The officer approached Ric and asked him to come outside to talk. The officer said that people had told him that Ric had a gun. Ric denied that accusation and allowed the officer to search him. During this time, Angel Sandoval was reportedly yelling profanities at the officers. The officer searched Ric and did not find a gun. The officer told him he was allowed to leave.
As the two Sandovals were walking back inside the bar they reportedly continued to yell profanities toward the officers. As they entered the doorway, they made obscene gestures toward the officers. The bar owner told them they were not allowed back in the bar. Authorities advised the two men that they needed to leave the area because they were too drunk. The became very antagonistic toward the officers, so the officers stayed until the two men left the area to prevent them from getting into another confrontation with anybody else. The Sandoval’s finally left the area.
At approximately 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning, Safford officers were again dispatched to Shane’s Place because the Sandovals were trying to get back in. When the first officer arrived he was told that Sandoval had left and walked toward the American Club. The officer found Ric Sandoval outside the bar and told him that he would give him a ride home. Sandoval got in the back seat and the officer drove him to his residence.
Angel Sandoval was at the American Club when other officers arrived on the scene. Angel came out holding a beer but a bar employee took it from and told him he couldn’t leave the bar with it. Angel immediately became critical of the officers for taking away his brother away. An officer told him that the other officer was just giving Ric a ride home. Angel was reportedly extremely intoxicated and wouldn’t calm down.
An officer told Angel to leave the area, but he refused and continued yelling profanities at the officers. Angel began walking backward down the sidewalk facing the officers. As he was backing away, an officer saw Angel move his right arm towards his waist area. The movement caused the officer concern because of the earlier report that his brother had a firearm. Angel suddenly grabbed a gun from his waistband. As he raised the gun, however, he dropped it and it fell to the sidewalk and bounced about 2 feet away from him.
The officer yelled, “gun” as he rushed Sandoval and tackled him to the ground. A Thatcher police officer secured the gun and helped two Safford officers handcuff Sandoval with two sets of handcuffs.
When authorities examined the gun, they found a magazine inserted into the magazine chamber but it did not have any bullets in the magazine or in the chamber. The gun was not loaded. Police did not find any bullets in the area.
When officers interviewed Sandoval he denied that the police had tried to get him to leave the area. He said that he had purchased the gun legally and had a concealed weapons permit. When asked why he had the gun in a bar, he said that he had it on him because he has his permit. Officers confirmed that he had a permit in his wallet. When asked if the gun had any bullets in it he said, “no.” He said that he does not shoot it or do anything with it. He said that he didn’t pull it out or touch it, it just fell out of his pocket and the police started attacking him and punching him.
An officer asked him if he thought that the cops might be alarmed if a gun was in someone’s hand. He replied that he didn’t do anything and they just started punching him for no reason.
Angel was arrested and booked in the Graham County Jail for Aggravated Assault. A criminal history check on Angel found that he had numerous felony and misdemeanor arrests. According to the police report he was found guilty in 2012 of aggravated assault with a deadly or dangerous weapon in Maricopa County where he was sentenced to 3 years of probation. However, his guilt was set aside, his conditions were suspended and his right to bear arms was restored. In 2016 he was found guilty of domestic violence and disorderly conduct. However, it appears that judgement was also set aside.