James Spurgeon, Tribal Police Chief, Involved in Shooting Death

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Chris Heald via Flickr

The last time we heard about Cocopah Police Chief James Spurgeon, he'd left his gun at the Yuma home of an "acquaintance," and that gun was found by a 6-year-old kid.

This weekend, Spurgeon was visiting the same woman at the same Yuma apartment complex, when they were confronted by another man. That man wound up dead.

See also:
-Police Chief Above the Law? Ask the Man Whose Son Found the Chief's Gun

Last year, Yuma police said Spurgeon had left his gun at the apartment of Angela Cochnauer, who's also an employee of the Cocopah Police Department.

Cochnauer's 6-year-old son found the gun the next day, and pointed at his father, Cochnauer's husband at the time -- who was surprised that A.) Spurgeon left his gun at his home and B.) That Spurgeon was even in his home, and his bedroom.

This past weekend, according to the Yuma Police Department, Spurgeon and Cochnauer were at the apartment when they were confronted by a man named Josh Collins.

According to YPD spokesman, Officer Joe Franklin:
During the confrontation, both Cochnauer and Spurgeon received blunt force trauma to the head. Spurgeon also received multiple stab wounds. Both were transported to YRMC with serious injuries.

Collins was found deceased at the scene from an apparent gunshot wound. The gunshot wound does not appear to be self inflicted. There are no outstanding suspects at this time.
Levi Cochnauer, Angela's estranged husband, tells New Times his boys were at the apartment during this incident, too, and he had to go pick them up at 3 a.m. on Saturday.

He adds that from what he understands, Collins is Angela's new boyfriend.

Levi Cochnauer spoke with us last year, after his son found the gun in their apartment, and was (rightfully) upset that there were no charges filed against Spurgeon -- a decision made by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

According to Yuma's paper of record, the Sun, the Cocopah Indian Tribe fired Spurgeon.

Levi Cochnauer seems more concerned about the safety of his boys at this point.

"This is the second time," he says. "I don't see my boys being lucky a third time."

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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valleynative topcommenter

Since the first time I read this article, the note has said "1 comment", but I haven't seen any comment.  I wonder if that happens when somebody starts to post a comment, but never finishes, or if there's some other glitch, possibly with the Facebook interface. Software bugs annoy me.


I would definitely fight for custody. This woman is obviously incapable of loyalty and is endangering her own children. She is separated from her husband, because she was sleeping with the police chief last year.

The authorities chose to do nothing of the situation last year, and due to that, a death occured this year. It's obvious that the victim was Collins. He didn't "force" his way into the apartment. He obviously had a key, or they would all have been awoken by him breaking down the door. No, he came in and found his girlfriend in bed with another man and obviously became enraged. He attacked them, and was killed for it.

I am not justifying the attack. But in a situation like that, it can be understandable for a sane person to lose it.

Due to the inaction of the authorities last year, this death is a direct result. No one should have died for this stupidity.

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