ARIZONA NEWS

Ex-Arizona prison director Ryan charged with 2 felonies stemming from January incident

May 6, 2022, 4:40 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Charles Ryan, the former director of Arizona’s prison system, was charged with two felonies from a January incident at his home, authorities said Friday.

Ryan was charged with one count of disorderly conduct involving weapons and one count of unlawful discharge of a weapon, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Ryan, who retired as director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry in 2019, experienced what police called “a mental health crisis” on Jan. 6 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.

He was under fire for his handling of prison issues toward the end of his tenure after more than 10 years on the job.

Notably, Ryan 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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Ex-Arizona prison director Ryan charged with 2 felonies stemming from January incident