Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 1, 2010
Deputy Harris shot and killed
Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Harris, Mt. Carmel, was tragically shot and killed while pursuing a suspect in a prior night’s break-in at the Fredonia High School. The shooting occurred on Thursday, August 26 around 2:20 p.m., when Harris along with two other officers, were on a foot pursuit after Scott Curley, 23, Fredonia, AZ, approximately three miles east of Fredonia. Curley allegedly shot Harris with an AR 15 military scope rifle when he came over a knoll.
The incident/break-in at Fredonia High School occurred on Wednesday, August 25. Curley was observed by custodian Mike Waters attempting to get into the science lab. Curley allegedly pulled a gun on him, but the confrontation de-escalated from there, with Curley leaving and Waters reporting the incident to law enforcement. Some Fredonia residents were angry their children were allowed to go to school on Thursday, fearing the man was still in the area.
Twenty-nine agencies were involved, with over 300 law enforcement officers from numerous local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Marshall’s Office and FBI, responding. Law enforcement helicopters searched for Curley. Many major media covered the situation. Lead spokesman in the investigation was Coconino County Chief Deputy Jim Driscoll, since Harris was killed outside of Fredonia in Arizona.
The search went on through the night. They attempted to maintain a perimeter where they believed the suspect was. By Friday morning, law enforcement thought Curley had initially hidden in the Clamshell area east of the Fredonia Clinic, and could’ve possibly travelled north towards Kaneplex.
Early morning August 27, brought a 10-plus stream of law enforcement vehicles, that had been in Fredonia, traveling east on Highway 89, later to focus on the old Highway 89 area. Two reported sightings of Curley were investigated that day, but to no avail. Law enforcement officers worked around the clock looking for the suspect.
On the morning of August 28, still no new information on Curley, who by many was said to know the rugged terrain around Kanab and Fredonia very well, and may have stashed food, water and supplies. Law enforcement, media and locals were on edge, hoping that Harris’ alleged killer would soon be caught without more bloodshed. U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the fugitive’s capture.
August 29 was another day with no sign of Curley. Law enforcement took shifts working the area they believed he was in. Helicopters were scouting by air, while the media watched and waited, all hoping the ordeal wouldn’t end with more tragedy.
On Monday, August 30, Curley was apprehended near a rural residence east of Kanab, near the Arizona/Utah border.
“Scott Curley was arrested at approximately 12:50 a.m. east of Kanab,” said Driscoll at a Monday morning press conference. “He was attempting to break into a home and the resident called the command post.”
Driscoll said nearby law enforcement officers were quickly dispatched to the area and found Curley near the home in hiding. “He did not resist arrest and appeared to be very tired,” said Driscoll.
Sheriff Lamont Smith said Curley will be questioned and held in custody, probably at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County, until his initial court appearance. Unless Curley waives his right, there will be an extradition process.
Smith expressed sincere and heartfelt thanks to Coconino County and all the agencies that responded to help the Kane County Sheriff’s Office deal with the murder and loss of their friend and fellow officer Brian Harris – both in work duties and emotional support. “The (support) has been humbling,” said Smith.