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Deputy found innocent of wrongdoing in shooting death

KINGMAN – A Mohave County Attorney’s Office review confirms a Kingman police department conclusion that an ex-con fatally shot himself in the head just before he suffered a gunshot to the elbow from a round fired by Mohave County Sheriff’s deputy Kevin Gunnoe. County attorney Matt Smith reviewed the independent shooting investigation and the medical examiner report involving the May 13 death of Buddy Dale Lott, 50.

“Lott died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his left temple. The autopsy showed that the fatal shot came from a contact wound to the left temple,” Smith said in a memo issued about the Officer-Involved-Shooting (OIS). “The only gunshot that was fired by Deputy Gunnoe that struck the suspect hit Mr. Lott in the left elbow, and this gunshot had to have occurred after the fatal suicidal gunshot wound because Mr. Lott could not have fired the shot into his head if his left elbow was injured.”

Smith’s memo references police narrative that Lott exited a vehicle after a traffic stop in north Kingman, refusing officer commands to drop the .40-caliber handgun that he eventually pointed at his own head. Police spokeswoman Jennifer Sochocki said Lott pointed the weapon at a deputy in the vicinity of Shaeffer Avenue and Norrie Drive.

Smith’s findings note that witnesses told investigators they saw Lott point the weapon at his head while refusing commands to drop it. “I’ll kill you and myself,” Lott told deputies, according to one witness.

The shooting review noted that movement was detected, and a gunshot was heard from the area where Lott was positioned, just before Gunnoe wounded him in the elbow.

Smith’s memo said the investigation further showed that Mr. Lott had attempted suicide numerous times in the past, talked about suicide that day, failed to appear for court concerning his divorce proceedings.

“Deputy Gunnoe was justified under A.R.S. 13-406, 13-405 and 13-404 in firing his weapon,” Smith’s memo stated. “Lott committed suicide by shooting himself in the left temple before any law enforcement bullets struck him.”

Department of Corrections records show that Lott made multiple trips to prison between 1989 and 2013. Those records show 37 disciplinary infractions during his in-custody history.

  • Dave Hawkins

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