SHOOTING INVESTIGATION

B.R. Greisen of the Bullhead City Police Department looks over a statement from a neighbor after a fatal shooting incident Monday in the 1800 block of Surf and Sand Drive.

 

BULLHEAD CITY — An altercation turned deadly Monday, ending with a Bullhead City man fatally shot and police still trying to figure out what, if any, charges will be recommended.

According to reports from the Bullhead City Police Department and statements from witnesses in the neighborhood in the 1800 block of Surf and Sand Drive, 60-year-old Buff Kutschat shot Austin Thomas Passons once in the stomach after Passons refused to leave the property.

Emily Fromelt, public information officer for the Bullhead City Police Department, said witnesses told police that Passons showed up at the residence uninvited around noon Monday and allegedly tried to provoke a fight with Forrest Kutschat, Buff Kutschat’s adult son. At some point, the elder Kutschat pointed a gun at Passons and told him to leave. Instead, Passons reportedly took a step toward Buff Kutschat in an aggressive manner and Kutschat fired a single shot, striking Passons in the abdomen.

Passons was taken to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, where he was pronounced dead.

Fromelt said no arrests have been made. The case remains under investigation, she said. Information from the police department indicated that Passons had previously been banned from the Kutschat residence for trespassing.

Police interviewed several neighbors and both Buff Kutschat and Forrest Kutschat at the scene.

Neighbors said that Passons had been a problem before.

“Austin’s been terrorizing the neighborhood for a long time,” said one woman, who characterized Passons as “a bully.”

“You can only put up with it for so long,” she said, suggesting the shooting was justified.

Passons, 37, had been arrested at least half a dozen times since 2000 and four times since 2010, including twice for threatening and intimidating in domestic violence situations and once for threatening a police officer following an arrest for burglary on Dec. 30, 2012. According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, he was in prison four times for felony convictions, most recently in August of 2013, when he was sentenced to 18 months for aggravated harassment. He was released in September of 2014.

His most recent arrest, according to Bullhead City police booking information, was last month on a misdemeanor warrant for criminal damage.

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