Jeffrey Higgins, a now-former detention officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, was sentenced to probation for a January incident in which Higgins pointed a loaded handgun at his 19-year-old son.
According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, Higgins pointed the gun at his son's face as the teenager tried to prevent his old man from drunkenly driving away from their Mesa home.
Higgins entered a plea of no contest on an aggravated-assault charge, and was sentenced yesterday to three years of probation.
Police were called to Higgins' Mesa home around 3 a.m. on January 24, as his wife called 9-1-1 to report that Higgins was fighting with his son.
Higgins' son would later tell police that the argument started shortly after he came home and found his father "very" drunk.
In the middle of the argument, Higgins tried to leave and get in his truck, although his son tried to prevent him from getting in. Higgins grabbed his son by the collar to try to get him out of the way, and Higgins' wife helped try to prevent Higgins from driving, according to the documents.
Higgins said he was going back inside to "take care of" himself, but came back out to his truck with his MCSO detention-officer badge and handgun, the documents said.
As Higgins attempted to get in his truck again, his son again tried to prevent him from doing so, which is when Higgins pointed the gun at his son's face and told him to get out of the way, according to the documents.
Eventually, Higgins got in his truck and drove off, but was pulled over by police about 15 miles from his home.
Higgins denied that he ever pulled his gun on his son, and denied that he ever threatened suicide, in reference to his comment about his intent to "take care of" himself.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
According to the court documents, there were claims that Higgins had pulled his gun on his son before, although those incidents weren't reported to police.
Court records show that Higgins has been allowed out-of-state travel for his duties with the Navy, and an MCSO spokeswoman confirms Higgins no longer has a job with the Sheriff's Office.
James King contributed to this post.