SNOWFLAKE — The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office put out two press releases in the last week about incidents in Snowflake. The first allegedly involved a shooting; the second, a live grenade. Both named suspects are in custody and presumed by law to be innocent.
The double shooting
According to NCSO Public Information Officer Tori Gorman, on Jan. 14, deputies responded to a residence in the 3800 block of Dia Estrella Road near Snowflake in reference to a shooting, that two victims were transported to a hospital and were reported to be in stable condition. One of the victims told deputies that the person involved was known to them as “Kris.” Authorities named one Kristopher Lee Millican 37, of Snowflake, as a person of interest. The press release urged the public not to confront Millican because he was believed to be armed and dangerous.
The next day, Millican turned himself in to The Snowflake/Taylor police. He is now in the Navajo County Jail; the bond amount is unknown. Prosecutors have since filed five felony charges against Millican: two counts each of attempted murder, Class 2 Felonies, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Class 3 Felonies and one count of burglary, a Class 2. Arizona generally defines burglary as entering into a structure with the intent to commit a felony.
A check of court records shows that a Kristopher Millican with the same month and date of birth as the shooting suspect is no stranger to local courts, but has not been accused of anything major. In 2012, that defendant was summoned into the Navajo County Superior Court on a felony drug paraphernalia charge, but that resulted in a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor in Snowflake Justice Court. In 2021, he was again cited into that court for misdemeanor false reporting to police and picked up a failure to appear charge in that case and a warrant issued for his arrest.
His next court date is January 26.
The live grenade
On Jan.18, PIO Gorman sent out yet another press release about the NCSO initiating an investigation after “receiving information” of a possible explosive device at a residence on Park Lane, north of Snowflake. Deputies there spoke with Mark Blake, 61, of Snowflake who apparently confirmed to them that he had a live grenade in an RV. On Jan. 3, deputies secured a warrant, searched the RV and located and impounded the device. Arizona DPS “EOD technicians” from the Phoenix area disposed of it, according to the release. Blane is reported to have remarked to deputies that if they took the grenade, he’d just make a new one, which statement may not help him in an upcoming hearing, as explained below.
On Jan. 13, a federal arrest warrant was issued relating to the explosive device and Blake was taken into custody by the FBI. According to federal court records, on Jan. 5 an FBI special agent who identifies herself as one tasked with investigating domestic terrorism, swore out an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint in the U. S. District Court in the District of Arizona.
According to the affidavit, on Jan. 2, NSCO responded to the residence of Mark Arnold Blake in Snowflake in reference to an attempted suicide. A charge nurse from Summit Healthcare had called the sheriff to request a welfare check. The nurse said that Blake said that he ingested a whole bottle of prescription medicine and wanted to kill himself. In a second call to NCSO, the nurse said that Blake said that he had a hand grenade in his fifth wheel trailer.
When the deputy arrived, Blake confirmed that to the deputy, and said he had just completed an in-patient stay in a facility for mental health treatment and would agree to returning to the facility. He would not turn over the empty prescription bottle and would not allow law enforcement to go into the trailer. NCSO promptly obtained the appropriate search warrant. While the search was underway, Blake told a deputy that if he (Blake) was going to be charged with a crime, “All hell was going to break loose,” that there was gunpowder in the grenade, and he “had the technology” to make another one.
The DPS bomb squad confirmed that the “pineapple grenade” consisted of a black steel housing and a top bolt hole through which a green fuse passed into the device. The technician found powder inside which “burned similar to black powder. The fuse was tested and burned similar to a time fuse,” stated the affidavit. It appeared to be a functional device and had no serial number on it.
According to the FBI, it is “crime to possess a destructive device which is not identified by a serial number.” Blake was arrested and transported to the U.S. Marshall in Flagstaff. He is detained for now, has been appointed an attorney, and had a hearing about release conditions on January 19.
The Independent will update these cases as they develop.