County News

Peter Gaver has pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and attempted hindering prosecution in connection with his family’s fatal brawl with police last March in the Cottonwood Wal-Mart parking lot.

Yavapai Superior Court Judge Joseph Butner III on March 16 approved a plea agreement calling for three years of supervised probation, 200 hours of community restitution and more than $880 in fines and fees.

Gaver, 56, was sentenced to time served of 356 days and ordered to have no contact with victims of the incident or members of his family who also were arrested.

The two charges are class 6 felonies that can be designated misdemeanors if Gaver completes probation, according to the court, which characterized them as “non-dangerous, non-repetitive offenses under the criminal code.”

Each class 6 felony typically carries a sentence of one year, although it can range from six months to two years depending on mitigating or aggravating circumstances, the document said.

Nearly a year to the day of the March 21 melee, the family patriarch was released from jail and now resides at a homeless men’s shelter in the Prescott area.

Senior probation officer Cindy Robinson told Butner she’d spoken to the live-in manager at Project Aware. “He confirmed that Mr. Gaver is indeed staying at their shelter and he has no concerns about him at this time,” she wrote in a letter to the judge.

The brawl, which took place around midnight, led to the death of 21-year-old Enoch Gaver, and resulted in gunshot wounds to David Gaver, then 18, and Cottonwood Police Sgt. Jeremy Daniels. Both were shot in the leg.

City police had responded to the Wal-Mart at Rodeo Drive and State Route 260 following a report that members of the Gaver family had an altercation with an employee in the store’s bathroom.

When officers arrived, they were immediately attacked by some of the Gavers, according to the Arizona Department of Public Service, which investigated the case because it involved a police shooting. The melee involved eight family members and eventually eight police officers.

The Gavers had recently come to Arizona from Boise, Idaho, and were apparently living in a 1988 Chevrolet Suburban. According to a Facebook post, the family had been having car trouble before the brawl at Wal-Mart.

Peter Gaver and David Gaver, along with Ruth Gaver, 53, Jeremiah Gaver, 30, and Nathaniel Gaver, 28, were indicted by a Yavapai County grand jury March 31 on a number of charges, including  aggravated assault, resisting arrest, hindering prosecution and rioting.  Officials also took custody of two juveniles, ages 12 and 16.

Family members are being tried separately.

Daniels and officer Richard Hicks were placed on routine administrative leave during an investigation by the Department of Public Safety, which cleared police officers in the incident. Daniels has since retired from the CPD due to the gunshot injury.

DPS determined that there was a struggle for an officer’s gun and three shots were fired. It was a round from Hicks’ weapon that killed Enoch Gaver.

Meanwhile, Ruth Gaver asked the court to release her on her own recognizance. She has been in custody on $5,000 bond since her arrest March 21, 2015.

Her attorney, Sebrina M. Shaw, said the bond is excessive and that the family had been living in poverty prior to the incident.

In a motion filed March 16, Shaw said that Gaver has no prior felony criminal history or failure to appear, and is not a flight risk. She said her client is on a waiting list at a Prescott-area women’s shelter. According to the motion,  Gaver has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, suffers from depression and anxiety-related disorders. She is charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer, riot and resisting arrest.

Shaw contends that evidence shows Gaver was holding onto her 11-year-old daughter during the brawl and watched as one of her sons was shot and killed and another wounded.

“Ms. Gaver was then forcibly separated from her daughter by law enforcement,” Shaw wrote in the motion. “It is alleged that she pushed Officer Flynn when he tried to separate her from her daughter .... Officer Florisi informed defense counsel that Ms. Gaver was trying to be with her deceased son, and did not want to let go of her daughter when she was being detained.”

The three Gaver sons are involved in different stages of determining their competency to participate in their trials.


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