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Suspect claims dogs knock gun over, shooting woman

Jail Bars
Posted at 1:06 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 15:09:09-04

BERYL, Utah — A Utah man has been charged in relation to the shooting of a woman he claims was caused by dogs knocking over a gun.

Iron County Sheriff's Office deputies said they responded to a mobile home in Beryl on July 13 and found the victim with a gunshot wound in her back. The woman told police she had been driven to the home by her boyfriend, 38-year-old James Allen Cox.

The woman was airlifted to St. George Regional Hospital to care for her multiple injuries.

According to the arrest documents, in a follow-up interview with detectives, the woman claimed her and Cox were having an argument and that she had left to live in a nearby trailer. Cox allegedly followed the victim to the new trailer armed with a 22 caliber rifle and continued the argument.

When the woman left the new trailer to get away from Cox, "several dogs came out with her," the documents said. The victims said she heard a gunshot as she stepped of the stairs and "felt immediate pain."

Cox immediately apologized, the woman said, and claimed it was an accident.

Deputies attempted to speak with Cox at his home, but he refused to come out a talk, forcing them to obtain a search warrant to enter the property. Cox claimed his gun had been propped against the wall when it was knocked over by the dogs. He said he took the victim to another mobile home nearby "because he was scared."

During a search of the home, authorities found the rifle concealed behind a blanket and cardboard, along with a bag containing "white crystalline substance along with several smoking devices consistent with the use of methamphetamines and marijuana."

Cox faces multiple charges, including felony discharge of a firearm, tampering of evidence and failure to stop by police command.