Man cleared of 4 Detroit murders arrested in Arizona

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Detroit man who was cleared of four murders after spending eight years in prison has now been arrested in Arizona.

Authorities in Maricopa County say Davontae Sanford was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault and endangerment after he and two other men were accused of shooting AR 15 "pistol rifles" into the desert.

[RAW VIDEO: Initial court appearance for Davontae Sanford]

This all started when The DEA and Maricopa County Sheriff's detectives first responded to a tip about the smell of marijuana emanating from a home where Sanford lived in Waddell.

During surveillance of the home, detectives noticed 3 men on ATVs heading off into the desert near the home.

The men were reportedly firing high-caliber ammunition in the desert area, according to police documents

Detectives also say the three riders were firing in the direction of a nearby community park. One detective described rounds ricocheting around him, children and young adults in the park.

"People were running for their lives," the detective said, according to the police report.

Sanford was later taken into custody at the home, along with his two housemates.

A sweep of the property revealed marijuana, two high-powered semi-automatic rifles and ammunition.

At least six people claimed to be victims of endangerment and aggravated assault, and independently said they were in "fear for their life," according to police documents.

Sanford's attorney, Bill Goodman, says the 25-year-old simply was shooting into dirt and toward mountains.

Goodman also says that the charges aren't justified. He says Sanford moved to the Phoenix area to get a fresh start. 

In 2008, Sanford was 15 years old when he pleaded guilty to killing four people in Detroit.

He says he felt desperate and poorly represented by his trial lawyer. 

A hitman later said he had committed the killings, not Sanford.

In 2016, Sanford was released from prison. The state paid him $408,000.

Sanford is due back in court in Phoenix on March 27.

To read PDF of the police report, click HERE.

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