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Ex-Arizona corrections director indicted on 2 felonies for January standoff in Tempe

A grand jury indicted Charles Ryan on one count of disorderly conduct involving weapons and one count of unlawful discharge of a weapon.
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 4:57 PM MST|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 5:09 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A former chief of the Arizona prison system has been charged with felonies after investigators said he pointed a gun at officers during a three-and-a-half-hour standoff while drunk in Tempe. A grand jury indicted Charles Ryan on one count of disorderly conduct involving weapons and one count of unlawful discharge of a weapon. New County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said a thorough investigation was done. “I want to assure this community that a person’s occupation, race, age, or other such factors of this nature do not influence charges that are sought by this office,” she said in a statement.

On Jan. 6, police said Ryan shot himself in the hand while he was drunk, so his wife called the police. Officers arrived and the wife and their adult daughter got out of the house, but Ryan wouldn’t come out. Detectives said at one point, Ryan opened a door, came out of the home, and pointed a gun at officers, who were behind an armored vehicle. Police said they tried to use “less lethal force” and made announcements to surrender, but Ryan went back into the house, police said.

A short time later, a Tempe Police tactical team and negotiators got Ryan to come out of the house, and he was taken into custody. On Jan. 19, the Tempe Police Department recommended prosecutors charge Ryan with aggravated assault on a peace officer and unlawful discharge of a firearm. Ryan retired as the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry in September 2019.