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Wed, Oct. 16

2 biker shooting suspects lose jobs with local gun manufacturer

Sturm, Ruger & Co. confirmed Thursday that two men indicted in the Chino Valley biker shooting case are no longer employed by the Prescott gun manufacturer.

Robert Kittredge, 36, and Michael Koepke, 28, both of Prescott Valley, were among nine men indicted by a Yavapai County Grand Jury on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an Aug. 21 shooting between rival motorcycle gangs near Chino Valley.

Court documents showed that Koepke's release order was modified to allow him to continue his employment at Sturm, Ruger & Co. under the conditions that he does not possess any actual firearms or a trigger of a firearm.

The request notwithstanding, neither Koepke nor Kittredge are currently employed with the company.

The federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency has specific guidelines about suspects handling firearms, and Sturm, Ruger has its own internal policy that states if a person is under indictment, the company has the option to release that employee.

"The ATF rules - and ours - are that they can't handle firearms.... (Firearms) are easily accessible inside the building," plant manager Jim Elliott said Thursday.

"These employees have been terminated because of these actions that they are involved with."

The nine suspects each next face case management conferences in October.

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