An alleged four-hour standoff between law enforcement officers and a Lake Havasu City man unfolded last year, ending in the suspect’s death. Now, Bullhead City investigators have concluded their investigation into the incident.
The incident has remained under investigation since August, when Lake Havasu City Police and Mohave County Sheriff’s officials were called to a Pocahontas Drive residence. There, 39-year-old Havasu resident Ron Chipman allegedly brandished a gun at a deputy who attempted to serve court documents at his home in reference to a recent custody dispute. Responding law enforcement officials surrounded Chipman’s home, where the stand-off took place. According to the report by Bullhead City investigators, Chipman may not have intended to survive the exchange of gunfire that followed.
Investigators say law enforcement officers attempted to negotiate Chipman’s surrender. The report says that when officers were unable to contact Chipman directly, they deployed smoke grenades through the window of Chipman’s home.
The report coincides with statements made by witness and Lake Havasu City resident Daniel Claas, who said in a Today’s News-Herald interview in August that he was speaking to Chipman on his telephone when he heard what may have been a “popping” sound. According to Claas’ statements last year, Chipman may have believed the police had opened fire, and said that he would defend himself before the call ended.
Chipman allegedly emerged from the rear of his home and fired upon approaching SWAT officers. After an exchange of gunfire, Chipman retreated inside. Officers used an aerial drone to locate Chipman in his home, where he was found lying injured on the floor beside his rifle. SWAT officers made entry into his home, and Chipman was transported from the scene to Havasu Regional Medical Center. There, he was pronounced deceased.
The Bullhead City Police Department was enlisted to investigate the shooting, and two Havasu officers were placed on paid administrative leave following the incident. Investigators interviewed witnesses and officers involved in the incident, and reviewed hours of body camera footage as they compiled their report – comprising almost 300 pages.
During a search of Chipman’s residence, investigators allegedly found a .223 rifle with an attached scope inside. In Chipman’s kitchen, investigators allegedly found multiple emptied cans of alcohol and energy drinks, with multiple empty nitrogen cartridges on his countertop. Also allegedly found in Chipman’s home were items including multiple pipes and containers of marijuana.
Investigators say a shotgun and a pair of binoculars were found lying the floor beside the back door of his residence. Officers also found an unlocked gun safe containing additional firearms and ammunition in Chipman’s bedroom, the report said. An open bottle of whiskey stood on the nightstand next to Chipman’s back door, half-empty.
A letter was found on a dresser in the home’s master bedroom, appearing to have been written to members of Chipman’s family. The allegedly letter included statements indicating that Chipman may have intended to end his own life, and referenced accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
According to the report, Chipman’s cause of death was shown to be blood loss from injuries he suffered to his aorta, hip and face during the exchange of gunfire.
The report will be forwarded to Mohave County prosecutors for possible action in the case.