UPDATED 09/03/15 9:30 a.m. - Navajo County Chief Deputy Jim Molesa said all of the people involved in the Wednesday shooting were from the Phoenix area.

They had been drinking the night before going to Heber and continued after arriving and until they all went target shooting, he said.

Molesa noted alcohol-impaired judgment on everyone's part played a major role in Christen Reece deciding to put a loaded gun to his head and pulling the trigger to show that the safety would keep it from firing, which it did not.

"Guns and alcohol don't mix," Molesa said.

Reece is still listed in critical condition, he added.

UPDATED 09/02/15 7:10 p.m. - HEBER-OVERGAARD — The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an accidental self-inflicted shooting that occurred Wednesday, Sept. 2.

A 23-year-old man was reportedly taken to the Heber-Overgaard Fire Department with a gunshot wound to the head at 8:48 a.m.

Chief Deputy James Molesa said Christen Reece, a Phoenix resident, was shooting with six others in the area south of Highway 277 on Gibson Road outside Overgaard when he reportedly tried to show his handgun had a double safety and could not be fired.

He reportedly placed the gun to his head to illustrate the weapon could not be fired and shot himself in the head. His friends drove him to the fire department where paramedics began to treat him.

He was airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Hospital and underwent surgery. Four individuals fled the scene, two of which have been identified but not yet located or interviewed, Molesa said.

Reece’s prognosis is unknown at this time and is listed in condition is critical, Molesa added. 

Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate the incident.

The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office reminds people with any information on a crime to contact WETIP at 800-78CRIME or contact the Sheriff’s Office at 928-532-6060 or 928-524-4050. Callers may request to remain anonymous.

Reach the editor at mknaub@wmicentral.com

PREVIOUS POST: The Navajo County Sheriff's Office is investigating a subject that went to the Heber-Overgaard Fire Department Wednesday morning with a gunshot wound to the head.

The agency is still investigating to see if it was accidental or otherwise, said Chief Deputy James Molesa.

The victim was airlifted to Scottsdale-Osborn hospital.

Check back to www.wmicentral.com for updates.

(6) comments


I'm sure there was nothing suspicious going on that he was out there in the early morning playing with guns with a load of other idiots, and then four of them "fled". They were guys, so it's really unlikely the sheriff's office would do anything to them, unless they had a personal grudge, of course. That's what our law enforcement does with their time, ignores actual crime in favor of persecuting anyone they don't like.
Just more proof that people with low IQ's shouldn't be allowed to touch guns.

Whiplash Willy

Looks like we have another Darwin award .

Whiplash Willy

Alcohol , firearms and I'm sure they were smoking , why when there is a tragedy the ATF is always there ?


How sad and dumb. Who in their right mind would play with a loaded gun like this. Also, I don't see the need to criticize law enforcement here, Stacey. Sounds like you have a personal vendetta with the law. I support our law enforcement. They have a tough job and now that they are getting murdered at gas stations by crazy people with hate in their heart we need to support them, not criticize them. Wise up.


Does this mean I can "accidentally" shoot my ex-wife ?


This was not an accident, any more than getting drunk was an accident. If this man lives, he might be able to procreate and make more stupid people.

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