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Sat, July 04

Three indicted in Ash Fork shooting incident

ASH FORK - Three people have been indicted in connection with the July 9 shooting of a Yavapai County Sheriff's Volunteer in Protection (VIP) member near Ash Fork.

Gregory J. Niedermeyer, 49, and Jason D. Niedermeyer, 24, were each indicted on attempted first-degree murder, three aggravated assault charges, two counts of misconduct involving weapons and criminal damage. They both faces charges of production of marijuana and possession or use of drug paraphernalia along with Maria S. Niedermeyer, 54.

A court document gives a detailed account of the incident, in which VIP Steve Edgar was shot three times, managed to call for help, and was flown to Flagstaff Medical Center, where he survived his injuries.

The document, a police probable cause statement, said Edgar was patrolling on Bullock Road when an ATV passed him at high speed. Edgar, armed, in full uniform and driving a marked YCSO vehicle, was not authorized to pursue or stop the ATV, so he instead tried to follow it to report back to a deputy later.

He was not able to keep up with the ATV and stopped at a gated property on Cattle Road, the statement said. He got out to take GPS coordinates to add to his report, but didn't realize he was at the Niedermeyers' property because he was at a back gate.

"It is commonly known by YCSO employees that you will be shot if you enter the Niedermeyers' property," the statement said.

As Edgar stood outside his vehicle, a gust of wind blew papers out and onto the ground.

He picked them up, then saw that some had blown past the unlocked gate and went to retrieve those, the statement said.

When Edgar turned to walk back, he was shot in the hip, and hit twice more. He estimated 20 to 30 rounds were fired toward him, some striking the patrol vehicle.

He got back to the vehicle, called for help, and drove away.

"Based on the circumstances of VIP Edgar regarding the ATV baiting him into a pursuit, and at least two shooters firing at him, this appears to be an ambush," the statement said.

After an hours-long standoff with SWAT at the property, Jason called 911 to surrender, and the Niedermeyers as well as Jason's wife and five-year-old child and another woman were taken into custody.

Gregory immediately asked for an attorney and wasn't questioned. Maria had difficulty speaking English and also was not interviewed.

"It was clear Jason was willing to take sole responsibility for the entire incident," the statement said. Jason believed Edgar was actually a deputy, he told detectives, and explained how he watched Edgar drive up to the gate and fired at him

One of the women told investigators that Jason said Gregory had fired first, and he joined in.

After being told this, Jason became "emotional" and admitted that both men had shot at Edgar, even switching weapons when they both had malfunctions, the statement said.

Jason's wife said she wanted to get the child out of the home, because "it is the culture on the compound that it is okay to shoot law enforcement if they come on the property," the statement said.

She added that she was upset during the shooting, and the child "was actually comforting her by telling her they were just shooting a cop," the statement said.

A large marijuana growing operation was also found on the property, and none of the residents had a medical marijuana card.

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