Man accused of threatening tourists with pellet rifle

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Ricky Donalson, 59, is accused of threatening tourists with a pellet gun at a hiking spot in Yavapai County. By Mike Gertzman Ricky Donalson, 59, is accused of threatening tourists with a pellet gun at a hiking spot in Yavapai County. By Mike Gertzman
Pellet gun recovered following the arrest of Donalson By Mike Gertzman Pellet gun recovered following the arrest of Donalson By Mike Gertzman

OAK CREEK, Ariz. -- An Oak Creek, Ariz. man is in jail after being accused of threatening tourists with a pellet gun at a popular trailhead in Yavapai County.

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Ricky Donalson, 59, came up to a father, a mother carrying an 18-month old baby, and an 8-year-old and 11-year-old as they were getting into their SUV parked at the Turkey Creek Trailhead on July 7. 

They say Donalson had the rifle "at the ready" position, and asked if they had started a campfire. 

The father told them "no", and explained to Donalson they had just finished hiking. Donalson then told them to "get the (expletive) out" as the father moved to shield his son, deputies said.

Donalson then apparently pointed the muzzle of the gun directly at the father and asked if there was a problem. The father said there was no problem and got his family into his SUV. Donalson lowered his rifle, and the family drove off safely.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office was called and a couple of weeks later, Donalson was found and arrested. Deputies said a pellet gun matching the description of the weapon given to them by the family was recovered. Donalson denied being involved in the incident.

He faces five counts of aggravated assault, two counts of assault on a child under 15, and reckless handling of a weapon. Bond was set at $125,000.

The Turkey Creek Trailhead is located in a remote area west of the Village of Oak Creek and south/south east of the Red Rock Crossing of Oak Creek.