Suspect in Arizona double murder arrested after high speed chase

Coconino County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle | Stock photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two people were found dead Tuesday in their home in Coconino County, Arizona, initiating a multistate manhunt to locate the possible suspect who was ultimately arrested in Colorado late Friday night.

Sheriff Jim Driscoll announced Saturday that an arrest had been made in the homicides of Williams, Arizona, residents Nora and Michael Dimuria who were found dead in their home Tuesday morning.

Deputies from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the residence Tuesday after a man called 911 to report that he had found his neighbor dead, according to a statement released by Public Information Officer Jon Paxton with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office late Tuesday.

Deputies arrived at the residence located in the Red Lake area north of Williams and found two deceased individuals identified as the homeowners, 67-year-old Michael Dimuria and his wife, 64-year-old Nora Dimuria. Investigators also discovered that the couple’s white 2006 Jeep Liberty 4-door SUV was missing from the residence.

Poster from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office showing white 2006 Jeep Liberty police were looking for in connection with double homicide in Coconino County, Arizona, May 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Detectives received information from an area resident on Friday that identified a potential suspect in the case and told police the man was fleeing to Colorado. Investigators then began coordinating with various agencies in Colorado and conducted interviews throughout the day.

“We received a tip from a member of the Williams community here in Arizona naming an individual who may be involved and they said he was from Colorado and may be on his way back,” Coconino Sheriff’s Commander Rex Gilliland said in an interview with St. George News Sunday.

Multiple agencies in Colorado began working with their local communities to get the word out on the suspect in the double homicide.

Friday afternoon the Jeep was located in the Dove Creek area in Colorado by the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office after a citizen called in to report a suspicious vehicle that appeared to have been abandoned.

Later that night local law enforcement in Colorado located the suspect nearby and observed him leave the scene in a different vehicle, Gilliland said. A high speed pursuit ensued with Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputies in which the suspect allegedly fired at officers.

To end the pursuit, officers performed a PIT maneuver which sent the suspect’s vehicle into a rollover. Soon after, the suspect, 29-year-old Grand Junction, Colorado, resident Derrick Shawn Barnett, was arrested for multiple offenses stemming from the pursuit and outstanding warrants out of Colorado.

Arizona investigators were informed of Barnett’s capture.

Red Lake community meeting held Saturday where announcement that suspect in double homicide was in custody was made by police, Coconino County, Arizona, May 6, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Coconino County detectives then traveled to Montezuma County in Colorado to continue the investigation before returning late Saturday night, Gilliland said.

Saturday morning Coconino County Sheriff Jim Driscoll made an announcement that a suspect was in custody at a planned Red Lake community meeting attended by more than 200 people.

Sgt. Cameron Braveheart with the Montezuma County Jail in Colorado confirmed that Barnett remains in custody at this time, however a booking photo will not be available until Monday, he said.

The boost to the investigation and apprehension of the suspect in the case came from public assistance, Gilliland said.

He went on to explain that two tips came in that ultimately helped investigators identify a suspect and locate the abandoned Jeep. Both tips came from citizens, one in Arizona and the other in Colorado.

“Those tips were very instrumental in this investigation,” he said, “and we appreciate and need help from the public, not just with this case but every case.”

“We are comfortable that this suspect is a suspect in our Red Lake area double homicide, and at this point we aren’t looking for anyone else,” Gilliland said, “but the investigation is still ongoing, and we have a lot of work to do.”

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact. This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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