Shooter charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
By Jon Johnson and Eric Burk
SAFFORD – A Hispanic man was shot and killed at the Bull Pen bar at 912 W. Thatcher Blvd. early Wednesday morning.
Jared Michael Garcia, 35, was reportedly shot and killed by Salih Abdul-Haqq Zaid, 39, of Thatcher, during a physical altercation in the bar’s parking lot at about 12:50 a.m.
Zaid was pulled over by a Safford Police sergeant a short distance from the bar within minutes of the shooting and was taken into custody, according to a press release from the Safford Police Department. A rifle and at least one other firearm was located in Zaid’s possession.
Eric Burk Photo/Gila Valley Central: The Bull Pen owner emphasizes that her staff followed procedure and that the incident took place in the parking lot after one of the men had been thrown out.
Zaid was booked into the Graham County Jail on Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Salih Zaid was booked into the Graham County Sheriff’s Office on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Bull Pen owner Vienna Williams spoke to Gila Valley Central and released the following statement.
“To our friends and customers,” Williams wrote. “We are devastated over the death of Jared Garcia. There was an incident in the bar between Jared and Salih Abdul-Haqq Zaid. Salih was told to leave and he did. What happened after that was out of our control and for the police department to determine. I’m very proud of my employees and the way they handle incidents. We have zero tolerance for fights, drugs and weapons at the Bull Pen.”
Eric Burk Photo/Gila Valley Central: Firearms are not allowed inside the bar.
Officers with the Thatcher Police Department, Graham County Sheriff’s Office and Arizona Department of Public Safety also responded and assisted with the investigation. The officers used aerial drone photography and a GPS device to log evidence.
Eric Burk Photo/Gila Valley Central: Investigators examine the scene of a murder at the Bull Pen parking lot.
From the evidence collected, it appeared as if Garcia was shot in the west end of the parking lot toward the side exit of the bar. Zaid was apparently north of Garcia to the back of the parking lot on the western side. As the investigation is ongoing, how the shooting occurred is yet to be confirmed by authorities.
Eric Burk Photo/Gila Valley Central: A Safford officer points at the scene before investigators arrive.
Authorities were at the location until about noon.
Safford Police Chief Joe Brugman said law enforcement did an impeccable job regarding the incident and thanked the citizens as well.
“We want to thank the citizens who were imperative in helping us identify an locate the subject as quickly as we did,” Brugman said.
Gila Valley Central will update this report with more information when possible.