Walmart gunfight leaves 1 dead, 8 injured, 6 others arrested

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Left to right: Peter Gaver, Ruth Gaver, Nathaniel Gaver and Jeremiah Gaver. (Photo: Cottonwood Police Department)

An altercation at a Cottonwood, Arizona, Walmart Saturday night turned into a gunfight between seven suspects and eight police officers in the parking lot and ended with one fatality, two people being shot and six suspects — including at least one juvenile — behind bars.

An Idaho family had apparently been living in their SUV in the parking lot of the store. The family comprised a Christian street band known as Matthew 24 Now and was supposed to be at the store to provide music and ministry to local residents in the parking lot. However, just before 11 p.m., several members of the family, including a woman and young girl, apparently walked into the store and went inside the men’s restroom. After some time had passed, a Walmart employee went into the restroom to check on the family, at such time, the employee said she was assaulted by the family members.

The employee called the police and according to a press release by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, when two responding officers arrived at the store, a melee between the family and the officers immediately ensued. At that point, additional officers were called to the scene.

“I was here last night,” said Louie Solano, who witnessed the incident in the parking lot. “It was a lot of noise. It looked like a riot in the middle of the parking lot. I mean it was unbelievable.”

Eventually, shots were exchanged in the parking lot, although it’s not known whether the family or the officers fired first.

One of the suspects, Enoch Gaver, was fatally shot during the gunfight, and a second suspect, David Gaver, was shot in the stomach. Cottonwood Police Sgt. Jeremy Daniels was also shot in the leg. Seven of the eight responding officers received injuries ranging from the gunshot wound to lacerations and bruises. One officer suffered a twisted ankle and the Walmart employee walked away with a broken arm.

Gaver and Daniels’ wounds are believed to be non-life threatening and both men are expected to recover.

The remaining family members involved in the altercation were arrested. They were initially uncooperative with authorities and refused to reveal their identities, so they were all booked as John and Jane Does. But authorities later determined the suspects were Peter Gaver, 55; Ruth Gaver, 52; Nathan Gaver, 27, and Jeremiah Gaver, 29. Another person was also arrested, but because the suspect is a minor, their name has not been released. The family is facing charges ranging from resisting arrest to aggravated assault and assault on a law enforcement officer.

The incident remains under investigation.