By Kelsey Givens
Pahrump Valley Times
One man is in custody after he allegedly shot and killed an Amargosa Valley man who confronted the suspect about pointing his gun at four teenagers over the weekend.
Avery Church, 58, was arrested Sunday evening on charges of second degree murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon after Nye County Sheriff’s deputies were called out to the man’s home for a report of a shooting.
According to a declaration of arrest in the case, deputies were dispatched to Church’s residence at 1178 N. Tamarack Ave., around 2:51 p.m. on Sunday. Once there, they found John Sprague lying in the driveway suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Sprague was immediately transported from the scene for emergency medical treatment, but died prior to arriving at the hospital.
During a subsequent interview with Church, the suspect reportedly told officers he felt scared after the victim showed up at his house that afternoon and punched him in the ear and chin, refusing to leave once he was told to do so.
Despite Church’s claims that the victim had assaulted him just prior to the shooting, witnesses at the scene reportedly told police there was no altercation or yelling heard coming from the home prior to the incident. They also told deputies it appeared Church exited the residence as the victim was approaching and shot him.
A declaration of arrest for Church additionally notes there were no injuries present on his person consistent with his claim of getting punched in the face by the other man.
As deputies began an investigation into the events that led up to the shooting, police learned that Church and the victim had gotten into an argument two days earlier.
Church had gone to a residence in the 1500 block of Silverado Road Friday evening where he allegedly began fighting with several people in the home. He then reportedly pulled out his gun, pointed it at those individuals and began threatening them.
Church was subsequently chased out of the residence.
On Sunday, Church reportedly confronted four teenage boys, who were collecting firewood across the street from his home. He then got into an argument with the juveniles.
The teenagers told police the argument became more and more heated until Church allegedly pulled out his gun and pointed it in their direction. They said there was conversation from Church at one point about “shooting them,” and that he then spun around and fired two rounds into a nearby stump before leaving the area.
Less than an hour after the altercation with the teenagers, Sprague reportedly went to Church’s home to confront him about pointing his gun at the boys, at which time Church allegedly shot and killed him in his driveway.
When asked about the altercation with the juveniles, Church allegedly denied pointing his gun at them, but did admit to firing two shots while in the same vicinity, telling officers he was “trying to scare his dogs into returning home.”
Bullet casings consistent with the two shots fired near the teenagers were found by deputies at the scene as well as an additional casing in the area where the shooting reportedly took place.
Church was subsequently placed under arrested and transported to the Nye County Detention Center to be booked into custody.
He is being held without bail and remained in custody as of Monday afternoon.