As most of you have probably heard by now, a disgruntled man, age 73, involved in a bad divorce decided to take it out upon people in a horrific way in Yuma today. Six people were shot, five dead. The other clings to life in Phoenix.
In a very vicarious way, I was there. You see, I was doing my Helping Hands transport with a gal that needed to see a doctor on 4th in the morning. As we were pulling up to the major intersection of 16th and 4th, cop car after cop car came screaming by with sirens blasting. As I was in the middle of the intersection on a green left turn arrow, an unmarked car with lights flashing came into the intersection from my lane—in other words, heading head on into me in the wrong direction so I slammed on my brakes to let him pass. A block later, I dropped off my lady and started to head back out on 4th to run an errand when I received a call from our coordinator at Helping Hands. It was a police emergency she said and I replied “Yeah, I appear to be right in the middle of it on 4th”. Right at that moment an ambulance was blasting towards and past me from the direction of Yuma’s core downtown. Both my transport and I had thought “Oh, very bad accident” but instead I hear the words “There is a man shooting who started in Wellton (a small town 18 miles east of Yuma) and has shot five people. He is driving a silver PT Cruiser, dressed in green so be very, very careful!”
My head went on swivel patrol as my nervous eyes scanned constantly left and right looking for silver cars. Not knowing any details until later in the day, when I picked my lady up to drive her home I took back roads, thinking it was probably safer than taking the freeway in case someone was trying to make a getaway.
The details as of now seem to suggest that at the time we were downtown; the shooter was still lose and had just finished killing people. At the time the police cars sped by me, they probably were chasing him out Hwy. 95, which is the main highway heading towards Quartzsite from Yuma, and approximately at the junction with Fortuna Rd, which is out in the Foothills where we live, they found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, saving us all the bother of a trial.
The man’s rampage lasted half a day and took in a great swath from Wellton to Yuma. What a senseless tragedy. What a day to have to go into downtown Yuma! *Jerrold Shelley, the only victim so far identified beyond the shooter, was a prominent Yuma divorce and criminal attorney.
Timeline of calls, according to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office:
5:07 a.m. - First call came in. Yuma County Sheriff's deputies respond to a residence at Avenue 22 1/2E and Highway 80, where they found one victim who had been shot. That victim was taken by air ambulance to a Phoenix hospital and is listed in critical condition
8:19 a.m. - A second victim was found at a residence near Avenue 35E and Highway 80. The victim had been killed.
9:21 a.m. - Yuma police respond to an office on 2nd Avenue, where they found the body of Jerrold Shelley.
9:43 a.m. - Deputies respond to another call at Avenue 32E and Highway 80, where two victims were killed.
10:20 a.m. - Deputies respond to Avenue 36E and Highway 80, where another victim was killed.
10:47 a.m. - Deputies respond to Blaisdell area, where they found the body of Carey Hal Dyess, 73. Dyess, who police have identified as the suspect in the killings, was killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
UPDATED 5:20 p.m. - The suspect in a series of shootings around Yuma County is dead, police said. Carey Hal Dyess, 73, of Yuma, apparently shot and killed one person in Yuma and four people in Yuma County before shooting himself, according to a press conference this afternoon.