Chaos: Christian Street Performers Fight Arizona Police, One Left Dead

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 11, 2015 5:10 PM
Chaos: Christian Street Performers Fight Arizona Police, One Left Dead

UPDATE: First, it seems only three members of the family are part of the band Matthew 24 Now. I've corrected the original post below. Second, this goes without saying; the police were not at fault for this brawl. Officer Rick Hicks who fired the fatal shot that killed 21-year-old Enoch Gaver has since retuned to work after his actions were deemed justified.  You can see the struggle made by one of the family members for Sgt. Jeremy Daniel's firearm. Daniels is disarmed and shot. Hicks proceeds to hit Gaver with his baton, but to no effect. That's when he drew his sidearm and shot Gaver (via AZ Central):

Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning said that Enoch Gaver, 21, had disarmed Sgt. Jeremy Daniels and had shot him in the leg. He said Gaver was still armed with Daniels' gun when Officer Rick Hicks started hitting him with a baton.

After Hicks determined the baton had no effect, he resorted to shooting Gaver to death, Fanning said.

Hicks also shot and wounded David Gaver, who also had been on top of Daniels and had charged towards Hicks, Fanning said.

The preliminary investigation has given me enough evidence to place him back on duty,'' Fanning said, adding that he believes Hicks' actions were justified.

"The officers did a very good job of restraining themselves,'' Fanning said. He said they only resorted to deadly force when the Gavers left them with no other choice.

Nathan Gaver told police that his mother, Ruth, was using the restroom, and that he and his brother Jeremiah were guarding it.

Police are seen in another video snippet arriving at the scene, where a large group of people are standing near a Chevrolet Suburban. The brawl ensues almost immediately after the third and fourth officers arrive.

Fanning said he still does not understand why the Gavers chose to fight his officers, rather than simply speaking to them. He said the likely outcome of the call would have been a misdemeanor citation with no one going to jail if the Gavers had not escalated the incident.

The officers and the Gavers are seen punching each other on the video. At some point, an officer attempts to use a stun gun to bring the Gavers under control, but that appears to have little effect.

**Original Post**
 

An investigation into an assault of a Walmart employee turned into a deadly brawl between Cottonwood Police and an Idaho family, where at least three members were part of a Christian street performing act called Matthew 24 Now. One person was killed. When police said they needed to separate the family for routine questioning, a fight broke out–with one family member putting an officer in a headlock. The scuffle, which lasts almost nine minutes, is featured below. You can also clearly hear one family member calling the officer a "Nazi." (via CNN):

[Warning: graphic content and some strong language]

Arizona investigators have released dramatic video of a Walmart parking lot brawl that left a police officer wounded, one man dead, and reportedly involved members of a Christian family band.

Enoch Gaver, 21, was killed in the fight in the town of Cottonwood, and suspect David Gaver, 28, was shot in the stomach and taken into custody. Police Sergeant Jeremy Daniels was hit in the leg by a bullet fired during the melee.

The police dashcam video, released Friday, shows Cottonwood Police approaching the group of eight people -- all identified as members of the Gaver family -- around a large SUV in a Walmart parking lot on March 21.

Officers wanted to question them about the alleged assault of a Walmart employee who was going into the store bathroom. The police were accompanied by another Walmart employee.

On the video, an officer tells the group that they "need to separate these folks and talk to them." Someone then responds, "No, you are not going to separate me from my parents," and, "don't touch me."

The video then shows a police officer being put in a headlock and knocked to the ground.

The sound of Taser fire is heard. Police say pepper spray was deployed and that at least three shots were fired in an apparent struggle for an officer's gun.

Several times on the video the group appears to surrender, but starts fighting again.

According to AZ Central, the Gavers would perform for $250-350 within a ten-mile radius of Boise. They had recently moved to Cottonwood due to “circumstances;” the cryptic reason given by Nathan Gaver, who is being charged for assaulting a police officer. Gaver said he did this to “protect his sister.” The publication also reported that a tussle over an officer’s sidearm occurred:

The redactions make the [Yavapai County Superior Court] document difficult to understand in parts, but it said the first Cottonwood officer who arrived at the Walmart parking lot was immediately attacked and disarmed by one of the Gavers.

A second officer who arrived on the scene reported hearing the first officer say, "they got my gun," as he confronted five members of the family in the parking lot, according to the court document. He also heard someone say, "stop or get shot," it said.