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Felony charges urged for Charles Ryan, ex-Arizona prisons boss

FILE – This Aug. 19, 2010, file photo shows then-Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan at a news conference in Phoenix. Tempe Police say Ryan, who retired as the state’s prisons boss two years ago, suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Tempe home and pointed a gun at officers before surrendering on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Police on Wednesday said they are recommending felony charges against former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan in an encounter at his Tempe home nearly two weeks ago in which he was accused of pointing a gun at officers. 

Investigators recommend that prosecutors charge Ryan with aggravated assault on a peace officer and unlawful discharge of a firearm, Tempe police said in a statement. 

Police have said that officers went to Ryan’s home on Jan. 6 after receiving a report of a person with a possible a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

They said Ryan was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time, had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to one of his hands, initially refused calls to exit his home and pointed a gun at officers standing behind an armored vehicle before surrendering.  

After he was taken into custody, Ryan was brought to a hospital for treatment, police have said.  

Police have declined to say whether Ryan has been released from the hospital, citing privacy concerns. They also declined to say whether Ryan has been arrested. 

Ryan retired as corrections director in September 2019. 

Efforts to seek comment on behalf of Ryan, who doesn’t have a published phone number, were unsuccessful. 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said there was no estimate on when it will decide whether to file charges against Ryan. 

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  1. Clearly Mr. Ryan was suffering from mental health issues. We have cried out for understanding/leniency for many people using this defense. We have to apply the same sympathy here. As an ex-Arizona Prisons boss, he probably should be in jail for offenses against prisoners, but that is a different topic.

  2. Why are we as a society pursuing criminal charges on an individual that is not mentally well and shot themselves?

  3. He bullied his own people. For those who sympathize? You dont know him as well as I do professionally.
    He has many other’s blood on his hands,
    No, what happened to him was just as cowardly as him bullying his employees. He got his due. Now, his years are not going to be so Golden. It’s great to see Karma in action.

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