KINGMAN, Ariz. – A Mohave County sheriff’s deputy has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the December shooting death of a former Carson City resident who moved to Arizona about a month before the fatal encounter.
Deputy Sean Watson killed Michael Alan Thomas, 47, after responding to a call that Thomas made from a Fort Mohave pay phone, threatening to kill himself and possibly another person.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Trish Carter said Watson, who has been a deputy for 6½ years, fired after Thompson ignored repeated commands and charged at him with a knife.
Bullhead City Police Department personnel investigated the shooting, customary in Arizona, where agencies have another law enforcement entity probe officer-involved shootings to ensure impartiality.
The Bullhead City investigation was reviewed by Jarrod Long, a prosecutor with the Yavapai County attorney’s office in Prescott.
“No evidence exists to indicate any wrongdoing on the part of deputy Watson,” Long said in an April 19 letter concluding that Watson would not face any charge in the incident.
“Mr. Thomas forced deputy Watson to discharge his firearm by not obeying repeated commands to drop the knife and then charging at deputy Watson, placing deputy Watson in reasonable apprehension that he was going to be stabbed if he did not act.”
Long said he determined that the file and case should be closed.
Watson and Deputy Jeff Davis were the only members of the 92-officer agency in northwest Arizona involved in fatal shootings in 2011.
Davis was exonerated through an independent inquiry.