ARIZONA NEWS

No charges yet against ex-Arizona prison director after Tempe police standoff

Jan 11, 2022, 4:00 PM

PHOENIX – Charges have not yet been filed after the former director of Arizona’s prison system pointed his gun at police during a standoff at his Tempe home last week, authorities said Tuesday.

The Tempe Police Department said in a press release it “will recommend the appropriate criminal charges to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for consideration” after investigators complete their review of the case involving Charles Ryan.

Ryan, who retired as director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry in 2019, experienced what police are calling “a mental health crisis” on Thursday night at his residence near Warner and Terrace roads.

Officers responded to reports of a self-inflicted gunshot wound around 9:30 p.m. and were told Ryan was armed inside the home and possibly injured.

Police said they attempted to communicate with Ryan after his wife and adult daughter left the house but were initially unsuccessful. At one point Ryan opened a door from the house to the garage and pointed a gun at officers, police said.

Officers attempted to use less-than-lethal force but Ryan retreated into the house, according to police. He came out a short time later and was taken into custody without further incident, police said.

Ryan was taken to a hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his hand. Police didn’t provide an update on his condition in Tuesday’s release, citing “privacy concerns.”

Ryan was under fire for his handling of prison issues toward the end of his tenure after more than 10 years on the job. Notably, he was pressured to step down following reports of how he addressed the issue of broken locks on cells at the Lewis Prison in Buckeye.

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No charges yet against ex-Arizona prison director after Tempe police standoff