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Updated Jun 28, 2013 - 3:05 pm

Sen. Shooter charged in Yuma school confrontation

PHOENIX — The Yuma city prosecutor filed three misdemeanor charges Friday
against state Sen. Don Shooter in a case where the lawmaker confronted his
grandson’s teacher in a classroom.

Shooter was charged with criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, and
interference or disruption of an educational institution. A court date has not
been set.

The allegations stem from a March 22 incident in which Shooter went to the
grandson’s charter school. According to police reports, the school receptionist
told the visibly agitated senator that he could not see the teacher, but he
ignored her, continued to the classroom and confronted the female teacher.

Shooter had said earlier this week that his lawyer was working on a plea
agreement to resolve the case. He declined to comment Friday and referred
questions to his attorney, Ed Novak, who didn’t immediately return calls from
The Associated Press.

The city prosecutor did not file an assault charge that police had requested.

According to police, Shooter waved his finger in the teacher’s face before a
guidance counselor persuaded him to leave the classroom. At one point, the
teacher began using her cellphone to record the confrontation, and students
intervened and asked Shooter to leave.

Shooter told the counselor the teacher “was not appropriate and his grandson
deserved better … that she should not be teaching,” according to the police
report. He also said he was a “state senator and very influential man in Yuma
and in the state.”

Shooter walked out of the school without assistance, according to John Morales,
executive director of the nonprofit Yuma Private Industry Council, which
oversees the EOC Charter High School.

In a lengthy statement to police that was provided to the media in April,
Shooter said the teacher had repeatedly called Shooter’s grandson and another
boy “retarded” and “special ed” and had refused to allow the grandson to use
the bathroom when he was sick.

Shooter’s statement said he went to the school, entered his grandson’s class
while it was in session and “requested to speak” with the teacher, telling her
“if half the student’s allegations are true, this is very disturbing and we
need to discuss this.”

In an interview this week before charges were filed, Shooter said he hoped city
prosecutor Jay Cairns and Novak would come to an agreement.

“The whole thing’s foolishness for me, from my viewpoint. It’s much ado about
nothing, in my opinion,” Shooter said. “But that’s one man’s opinion. The
prosecutor’s gotta do his job. My lawyer’s gotta do his job.”

Shooter, a Republican first elected in 2010, heads the powerful Senate
Appropriations Committee. He could be called in front of an ethics panel if
another senator makes a formal complaint.


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