Cottonwood AZ (May 1, 2020) – On April 28, 2020, around 10:15 PM, YCSO deputies were dispatched to the 1200 block of S. Verde Drive in Cottonwood regarding an assault involving firearms. The subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest of 21-year-old Michael Crane from Cottonwood for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Disorderly Conduct, Reckless handling/Display of Firearm and Criminal Trespassing. Also arrested was 18-year-old Randee Coats-Marsh from Cottonwood for the same charges except Trespassing. And a third suspect, 19-year-old Joshua Apodaca from Cottonwood, was arrested for Recklessly Damaging Property. All were booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center and released pending county attorney review/court.
The initial call described multiple trucks revving their engines in front of a residence in the 1200 block of S. Verde Drive, Cottonwood. An additional call followed indicating a physical fight in progress involving firearms. Deputies arrived and detained at least 4 persons including suspect’s Michael and Randee.
During interviews, Randee explained that he and some friends, who drive loud ‘big trucks,’ were returning to the area and slowed for a dip in front of a home in the 1200 block of S Verde Drive. He noted the loud truck sounds apparently annoy the resident there. As they were driving across the dip, Joshua approached from the home and hit his truck with a bat. Randee left and parked at a nearby residence intending to return.
A short time later, Randee got into the bed of a friend’s truck joined by Michael, and returned to the S. Verde home. A 17-year-old male was driving this truck with his 17-year-old girlfriend as passenger. Once at the Verde Drive home, the suspects claimed a resident (adult male, but not Joshua) confronted Michael and his friends and allegedly threatened them with a bat. The male (victim) got into an altercation with the suspects and was able to grab a shotgun that Michael was brandishing. Michael then armed himself with a handgun while Randee displayed a loaded AR 15.
At this point Michael told deputies he followed the victim, now in possession of a shotgun taken from him, into the yard on Verde Drive. Michael, still holding a handgun at the time, eventually left the yard when he heard the Sheriff’s Office had been notified. Michael admitted an ongoing dispute with one of the residents at the Verde Drive home beyond just loud truck concerns.
The victim told deputies the suspects returned and began arguing with his son. He attempted to get them to leave when he noticed Michael brandishing a shotgun, confronted him, and was able to remove the gun from his grasp. The victim returned to his yard as his family was calling the Sheriff’s Office. Michael confronted the victim in his yard and demanded the shotgun back while brandishing a pistol in view the victim. When the victim refused, Michael eventually walked back to the truck after being told deputies were on the way.
There is no indication in the report the victim initially approached the suspects with any weapon.
Deputies were able to view security video of the incident and during the initial confrontation, deputies saw Randee stop in front of the home repeatedly revving his truck engine. Joshua was seen running out towards the truck holding a bat like object, followed by a loud bang indicating he hit the truck.
When the suspects return later to confront Joshua and the residents, Michael is seen demanding the shotgun back from the victim after following him into the yard and refusing to leave. The victim refuses to return the firearm and waits for the Sheriff’s Office. Michael leaves and walks back to the truck.
Additional video evidence was reviewed showing Michael and Randee challenging the victim and others nearby after returning armed to confront Joshua.
During the investigation, Joshua admitted striking the truck with a bat.
Michael and Randee acknowledged they should have sought law enforcement assistance before returning and initiating a confrontation.
Both suspects had the opportunity call the Sheriff’s Office BEFORE arming themselves and returning to confront the residents/victims.
Numerous firearms were seized as evidence.