4 kayakers shot at, held at gunpoint by 66-year-old Arizona man

An Arizona man was arrested on 15 felony charges after allegedly shooting at four kayakers on Burro Creek and holding them at gunpoint as they paddled past his property, Mohave County, Arizona, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An Arizona man was arrested on 15 felony charges over the weekend after allegedly shooting at four kayakers as they paddled past his property and then holding three of them at gunpoint.

A group of four friends from Flagstaff, Arizona, told officials they were kayaking down Burro Creek and were about a mile downstream from the Burro Creek Campground when they heard a gunshot and saw an elderly man standing on the riverbank with a “large silver gun,” Mohave County Sheriff’s Spokesperson Trish Carter said in a statement.

Danny Eugene Button, of Mohave County, Arizona, booking photo posted Feb. 5, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The kayakers reported that the man, later identified as 66-year-old Danny Button, fired four more rounds. One round hit the water near the lead kayaker, who subsequently began paddling “extremely fast” and got away, Carter said, as Button ordered the remaining three kayakers out of the water at gunpoint.

The kayakers reportedly pleaded with Button to let them go to look for their friend as they feared he may be injured, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Button told them they were on his property and later ordered them to grab their boats and walk back to the campground.

Deputies responded to the area at approximately 3:32 p.m. Saturday and found two of the kayakers at the Burro Creek Campground. They found a third kayaker at a landing waiting for the fourth, who hadn’t returned.

Search and Rescue crews responded and initiated a search for the missing 47-year-old kayaker, who was subsequently found 19 hours later about 7 miles south of Burro Creek Campgrounds, the sheriff’s office said, noting that the man was in good health.

The man reported hearing a couple gunshots before realizing he was the target, deputies said, which prompted him to roll his kayak upside down in the water as shots were fired.

“The (alleged) victim said that he stayed upside down as long as possible before he rolled back up and heard a male subject say, ‘This one is not going to miss,’” Carter said. “The (alleged) victim further said that he paddled as fast as he could to escape.”

The man reportedly continued on to the group’s planned destination but said he didn’t make it before darkness, so he ended up camping and hiding out, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities located Button on his property at approximately 10:45 p.m. Saturday and arrested him shortly thereafter, Carter said, adding that his .45-caliber Ruger revolver was taken as evidence.

Button told deputies he was target shooting on his property and then said the kayakers were trespassing, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Button was booked into the Mohave County Jail Saturday on three felony counts of unlawful imprisonment, three felony counts of kidnapping, three felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and three felony counts of endangerment.

After the fourth kayaker was found Sunday, Button was charged with three additional felony counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon, endangerment and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputies confirmed that property owners do not have the rights to the waterways.

Approximately 30 Search and Rescue members, the Department of Public Safety Kingman Ranger and DPS Flagstaff Ranger assisted in the search for the missing kayaker.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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

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  • comments February 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Scary. Like something out of a horror film. This man is a danger to the public.

    • comments February 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Who wants to bet that he’s a Bundy supporter?

      • Chris February 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm

        That crick is his property since his great-grandfather watered cattle there in the 1870’s. Kayakers are just dirty commies anyway.

      • mesaman February 7, 2017 at 9:56 pm

        Who wants to bet you are a bigot, and a dumb one at that?

        • Chris February 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm

          Who wants to bet you worked your whole life in a government job? Kind of like Cliven, who lived his whole life on the government dole as a welfare rancher. He’s sort like you, Nolan, isn’t he?

      • Oceansize February 8, 2017 at 1:07 am

        Who wants to bet he’s a Trump supporter?

        • Henry February 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

          I heard that he’s really Bernie Sanders.

  • Billy Madison February 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Did any of these kayakers by any chance hear banjo music?

  • Wolverine February 7, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Dude is whackadoodle.

  • Bender February 7, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Good thing he had a gun. Otherwise things could have really gotten out of hand.

  • old school February 7, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    This could have turned out a lot worse, hope the DA doesn’t get lazy and plea bargain it down, the nut bag needs to at least end up a “restricted person” and lose ALL his firearms for life! HA!!!!!!!

  • .... February 8, 2017 at 1:39 am

    a slap on the wrist and a $20 fine and 30 minutes community service !

    • Real Life February 8, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Still a little too early for your comments.

  • ScanMeister February 8, 2017 at 9:01 am

    The property he was defending will go to his lawyers for defending him. Anything left would go to civil monetary judgement.

    • comments February 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

      we can only hope so. as it’s told here it sounds like attempted murder.

  • wilbur February 8, 2017 at 11:31 am

    It would appear he shares similar impulse control with a lot of the Chicago “Amish”.

  • anybody home March 22, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    This story will bring the tourists in – they’ll just flock to get here.

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