Man fatally shot by Forest Service officer was bloodied, naked

New report on Jan. 5 Oak Creek Canyon fatal shooting is released

A white Toyota truck with Kansas license plates is removed from the scene of a deadly shooting Jan. 5, 2018, in Oak Creek Canyon. (Vyto Starinskas, Verde Independent)

A white Toyota truck with Kansas license plates is removed from the scene of a deadly shooting Jan. 5, 2018, in Oak Creek Canyon. (Vyto Starinskas, Verde Independent)

A new report released this week states that the man who was shot and killed by a U.S. Forest Service agent in Oak Creek Canyon on Jan. 5 was seen walking down Highway 89A bloodied and naked.

A Coconino County Sheriff’s Office investigation report identifies the officer as U.S. Forest Service Agent Krista Kuhns. The man who died was 51-year-old Tyler Miller of Hutchinson, Kansas.

CCSO Deputy Kyle Walter was requested to assist after it was transmitted across the radio that Kuhns was at a vehicle collision on 89A near the Briar Patch Inn.

According to the report, Walter heard Kuhns give a description of a bloodied man who was walking naked southbound on Highway 89A.

“I could hear in her tone she was shaky and was speaking loudly, consistent with an intense situation,” he said in the report.

He then heard over the radio that shots were fired. “During my response, dispatch was attempting to contact [Forest Service Agent] Kuhns without any result. It was also reported to DPS that a suspect was down in the roadway in which further details were not provided,” Walter said in the report.

Prior to his arrival, Kuhns was no longer involved with the suspect, and other agencies had arrived on scene.

Walter arrived and located DPS Troopers D. Cameron and K. Krueree. He was then informed that the man was being transported, and that Kuhns was not seriously injured “although shaken.”

It was also relayed to him that Sedona Police Department was tending to her.

The truck

Walter and the DPS troopers then checked the white Toyota pickup with Kansas plates that was involved in the collision for any other potential subjects.

According to the report, the CCSO deputy observed extreme damage to the vehicle, which was “well-off” the west side of the highway.

“It should be noted the vehicle was entangled in powerlines and we could not access the vehicle interior at the time although we were able to look through the front windshield and see that there appeared to be no other occupants,” Walter said.

In the report, Detective Kelly Barr said he observed the truck laying on the driver’s side portion of the vehicle.

“The front windshield had been broken out and appeared to be how the occupant of the pickup truck had exited,” Barr said.

The detective said an “obvious vehicle path” could been seen through the brush and trees, which indicated that the truck was northbound on Highway 89A when it crossed the centerline, continued into the southbound lane against traffic, and exited the roadway northbound into the brush.

During this course of the traffic collision, the truck caused damage to the overhead powerlines, Barr said.

The report states that the detective was notified by Criminal Investigations Lt. Gerrit Boeck that a witness had reported that Miller had been throwing rocks at vehicles traveling on Highway 89A after the collision. Barr saw multiple softball- or greater-sized rocks in the roadway.

Processing the scene

After processing the locations at the scene, the following items of evidence were collected and booked into the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Evidence and Property: blue jeans and black underwear; a right boot; a left boot; two socks; a leather belt; a T-shirt; a hotel key card; a dollar bill; and five pennies and one dime.

Detective Tristan Meyer was called in to assist and performed a walk-through.

Booked into the County Sheriff’s Office Evidence and Property was: a black Taser with expanded cartridge; two silver Federal brand .40-caliber Smith and Wesson shell casings; medical intervention items; DNA swabs of a red stain from Scene A Location 5; green Taser cartridge blast doors; and DNA swabs of a red stain from Scene A Location 8.

Multiple agencies responded, including the FBI, Forest Service, DPS, Sedona Police Department, and Sedona Fire. The FBI is the lead agency investigating the officer-involved shooting. CCSO was asked to assist with processing of the scene.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time,” FBI Public Affairs Specialist Jill McCabe said Thursday, Feb. 15.

The Verde Independent is a sister publication of The Daily Courier.