Yuma PD: 6-year-old found Ariz. police chief's gun; chief could face endangerment charges

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Cocopah Tribal Police Chief James Spurgeon By Catherine Holland Cocopah Tribal Police Chief James Spurgeon By Catherine Holland
Cocopah Tribal Police Chief James Spurgeon (2009) By Catherine Holland Cocopah Tribal Police Chief James Spurgeon (2009) By Catherine Holland

YUMA, Ariz. -- An Arizona police chief could be facing charges of endangerment after a 6-year-old allegedly got hold of his gun.

The Yuma Police Department is investigating the allegations against Cocopah Tribal Police Chief James Spurgeon.

According to investigators, Spurgeon, who has served in law enforcement for 25 years, allegedly left his handgun at the home of an acquaintance he visited on Friday.

The next morning, a 6-year-old found the gun and pointed it at his dad, said Yuma police Sgt. Clint Norred in a news release. The father took the gun away and asked where it came from. The child said he found the weapon on the floor.

According to the allegations against Spurgeon, his action -- leaving his gun behind where a child could get his hands on it -- put the lives of two adults and the child at risk.

One Yuma police wrap up their investigation, they will forward their findings to Yuma County Attorney's Office for review of possible charges.

Earlier this year, Spurgeon was one of 30 law-enforcement executives from across the country selected to take part in the ninth annual Leading by Legacy training, hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

In 2009, Spurgeon, who has been with the Cocopah Tribal Police for six years, was recognized as Police Chief of the Year by the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA).

In addition to his years on the front lines of law enforcement, Spurgeon also is a graduate of both the FBI National Academy Program and the FBI and Department of Justice Command College.