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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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2/16/2013 1:26:00 PM
Marijuana and guns = two men shot
Law enforcement serve a search warrant on a home on Main Street in Old Town Friday as part of an investigation that began at 3:30 a.m. when two men were shot at a residence on South 18th Street in Cottonwood. VVN/Jon Pelletier
Law enforcement serve a search warrant on a home on Main Street in Old Town Friday as part of an investigation that began at 3:30 a.m. when two men were shot at a residence on South 18th Street in Cottonwood. VVN/Jon Pelletier
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Law enforcement serve a search warrant on a home on Main Street in Old Town Friday as part of an investigation that began at 3:30 a.m. when two men were shot at a residence on South 18th Street in Cottonwood.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD -- Two men are hospitalized at the Verde Valley Medical Center, believed to have shot one another over what is believed to be a medical marijuana dispute.

At this point, their condition is not clear, though one, Melquedes Cordova Jr., was not incapacitated.

Cordova is the occupant of a house at 46 S.18th Street in Cottonwood.

The second man has been identified as Kyle Ritter, whose wounds were more severe. It is believed Ritter was an assailant in the "home invasion" and police are in the process determining how his gunshot wounds were inflicted. Ritter was flown to Flagstaff Medical Center, where he remains in serious condition.

Police received a call from a neighbor in the area saying there had been shots fired at the South 18th Street address and his neighbor was saying he had been shot

The gunfire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Friday. It took another 12 hours for search warrants to be issued for both the 18th Street house and a second home on Main Street in Old Town, where Ritter is said to have lived.

18th Street was blocked off by investigators all day Friday, including officers from Cottonwood PD, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Cottonwood's Incident Command Vehicle was brought in as a work station for the investigation.

Details on the alleged medical marijuana connection are not clear at this time. Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning said either man had the proper state permitting, he may have been legally growing medical marijuana as a "caretaker" to supply up to a maximum of five card-carrying medical marijuana permittees, since there is not formal dispensary within 25 miles. An individual is allowed to cultivate 12 plants with a card.

Officers also had a search warrant for another house in Old Town Cottonwood near on Main and 4th Street, reportedly the residence of Ritter, the second man involved in the incident.

Fanning says there may be other people and locations involved in the case, but at this time the department only knows of the two men in the hospital.



Earlier Story

Two men shot in Cottonwood


On February 15th, 2013 at about 3:27a.m. Cottonwood Officers were dispatched to a Cottonwood residence in reference to a report shots fired. A concerned citizen reported their neighbor was yelling he had been shot. The caller reported they had in fact heard gunshots during that time.

When Cottonwood Police Officers arrived to the scene they found two adult males who had sustained gunshot wounds. Both subjects were transported to medical facilities for treatment. Their condition at this time is unknown.

This case is still in early stages of development. Coordinated Law Enforcement efforts are under way to develop further information.

Police said additional information will be released when developed.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Sure am glad the Cottonwood Police Humvees have finally been used!

They couldn't have done this without 'em! The paramilitarization of the police has got to stop! These Humvees from the military has probably cost we the taxpayers over $100,000 for each one.

This shooting wouldn't of happened if pot was legal. Kinda reminds me of the good 'ole days of Prohibition.


Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Vicki Collins

Remember folks, one person here was a perpetrator and the other was a victim. It breaks my heart to see nobody posted prayers and well wishes for the victim's recovery. Typical of the media to get the story wrong. I hope when the investigation is completed, the media will publish the truth of this event. People hear the word "marijuana" and immediately judge and condemn without knowing the true facts.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Nathan White

12 hours to get a search warrant ....with shots fired ! Glad I don't live in Cottonwood..

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Byrne

Why was marijuana even mentioned? Next time there is a shooting maybe you should check to see if there was beer in the fridge. Another stupid headline for a meaningless article devoid of information. Good job.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Re, Too Bad

Too bad the harmless plant will be what gets blamed in all this... Yes, Too Bad your right. but, if there was no plant there would also be no problem. The same goes for guns. But, their is plants and their is guns so nothing will change even if "The Plant" was legal like guns. It's the people who are the problem and their is not much anyone can do about it, Lord knows we tried! It is what it is, so, get over it!

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Mr. Mouse: "...dressed in a manner more befitting the capture of Uday Hussein…"

As you infer (and is true of much in our lives these days), it's more about appearance than practicality. Nothing stands out like camouflage in a suburban environment. The proliferation of fully functional military assault weapons in the hands of civilian police does not enhance the security of the law-abiding citizenry they're sworn to protect and serve.

I was fortunate to have grown up in an environment where local police were seen more as fellow citizens than a not-very-well-regulated militia.


Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

@ No MJ:

The lawlessness began with the illegalization of a plant that few paid much attention to at the time. It began with one bigot's craving for power. Look up 'Harry J. Anslinger'.


Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

RE: MJ

What's truly pathetic is your lack of reasoning and disdain for the 'Bill of Rights' contained in our constitution. What you seem to be unable to comprehend is that you and your fellow curmudgeons in the Republican/Tea party do not have the right to ruin/run everyone's lives based on your prejudices.

It would seem the Alpha and Omega of your existence is 'What's in it for me!'

P.S. I gave up smoking pot and drinking shortly after college, some 20+ years ago!


Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

What I find most disturbing about the Jon Hutchinson's and your 'No MJ, please.''s is that they have such little respect for our community that they immediately begin pursuing a political agenda. Two people, our neighbors and friends, really did get shot. Does every crisis have to be about your politics?

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

Excuse me, gang, your paranoia's showing.

You've also got the wrong playbook. All we know for sure from this article is that two men were shot, presumably with guns.


Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Crime Wave

Seems to me this story is more about idiots with guns than it is about marijuana. Great argument for gun control, or at the very least, background checks.

Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: Anon Mouse

This is a tragedy, but I doubt the medical marajuana laws changed anything. If anything a local dispensary would have removed the patina of legality to what was obviously a drug dealing micro-network.

That aside, what bothers me is the Cottonwood Police Department feels some sort of obligation to enforce local laws dressed in a manner more befitting the capture of Uday Hussein circa 2003 than a low population city in semi-rural Arizona. I think it makes them appear to have too much budget coupled with a desire to 'play soldier' that is unbecoming to a serious civilian profession.

In the 30 years I have lived here the addition of K-9 units, SWAT teams, undercover cars, motorcycle patrols et al has proven to be nothing more than a tragic waste of funds and goodwill. How many undercover cars and drug dogs are needed to enforce ridiculously low speed limits and loitering at businesses near the high school.

I cannot be alone in feeling all of this 'investment' has made us no safer than we were thirty years and millions of dollars ago.


Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: M J

Re: Mary Jane
It appears that smokin' pot is the alpha and omega of your life.
Pathetic


Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: Donald Jansen

Ah, guns and drugs, no matter if there is a medical mj card, still a Federal crime. Wonder if the Feds will be involved.

Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Drug crimes were'nt started nor will they end in
Cottonwood.The streets will flow with blood and
mayhem will rule.
What a crock,.
Just say no is and was a joke.People kill each
other over a cigarette.It's like saying no to a
case of diahrea.
Glad it worked for you but it's not for everyone.



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