A Wikieup, Ariz., man will spend more than 22 years in prison after opening fire on four kayakers last year.
“This one’s not gonna miss.” Those chilling words told Tyler Williams that the speaker, gun trained at him, wasn’t playing around. That’s the story Williams and his three companion kayakers recounted in their testimony against Danny Eugene Button.
Prosecutors alleged Button opened fire at four kayakers on Burro Creek in western Arizona in February 2017. Williams documented the ordeal in an account for Canoe & Kayak.
According to Williams, Button fired four feet from his kayak, prompting Williams to flee downstream. His three friends, meanwhile, alleged Button ordered them out of the water. He held them at gunpoint for 10 minutes, then walked them to adjacent Bureau of Land Management property.
The jury convicted Button, 68, on 12 counts. They found him guilty on four counts each of disorderly conduct with a weapon, aggravated assault, and endangerment. Despite pleas from Button’s attorney for a five-year concurrent sentence, Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert sentenced Button to 22.5 years in prison.
Man Found Guilty of Firing at Kayakers
James Schoppmann, chief deputy Mohave County attorney and prosecutor in this case, argued Button fired five shots from his .44-caliber handgun, one of which made impact four feet from Williams’ kayak.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Brad Rideout claimed Button was legally firing his firearm on his own property, unaware of the kayakers. According to the Mohave Daily News, Button’s wife’s family owns property along both sides of Burro Creek.
But two other kayakers stepped forward during the investigation. They said Button had fired at them two weeks prior to Williams’ incident.
In place of an extended prison sentence, Williams requested Button’s sentence include “effective, random, frequent, and thorough probation checks for any trace of firearms at Mr. Button’s residence.”
But Judge Lambert took into account both “emotional harm” as an aggravating factor and a clean criminal history as a mitigating factor, handing down a prison sentence that will last until Button is 90.