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Gunman Fires into Church Group, Hitting Off-duty Policeman and Two Others

July 6, 1990

PHOENIX (AP) _ A man fired into a church group Thursday, wounding three people, then surrendered after a two-hour standoff in a neighboring house, police said.

Clifton Phillip Jeter, 23, of Los Angeles was arrested and booked for investigation of eight counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Police spokesman Leo Speliopoulos said the five extra complaints came from people at whom the attacker pointed a firearm and who felt their lives had been threatened.

The motive could not immediately be determined, Speliopoulos said. ″It just appears to be a random shooting,″ he said.

The incident occurred in a parking lot behind a center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Speliopoulos said.

More than 100 girls and adults were in the parking lot, either boarding buses for a church camp or saying farewell to the campers, he said.

According to police, off-duty Officer Steve Checketts saw the man in a corner of the parking lot and told him to drop his handgun. The man then shot Checketts, 43, hitting him in the left arm and chest.

The gunman then squeezed off shots into the crowd and fled to the nearby residence of Samuel Sanchez Jr., who had met Jeter at a party Tuesday night and invited him to stay at the house while he looked for a place to live, Speliopoulos said.

The gunman was the only person in the house at the time he surrendered, police said.

Checketts’ condition was upgraded to serious from critical after surgery.

Another bullet hit Elaine Beech, 47, in the left ankle. She was treated at a hospital and released.

Amy Garrard, 17, was grazed on the leg and treated at the scene.

″We were just waiting to start to load the buses when all of a sudden I thought I heard what was a firecracker,″ said Gene Williams, whose 14-year- old daughter was going on the trip.

Williams said he then heard Checketts yell, ″Gene, I’ve been shot 3/8 Call 911 3/8″

Williams ran into the church and called the emergency number.

″I think initially everyone thought it was a prank, then when Steve started yelling we realized it was for real,″ Williams said.