Criminal Justice

Divorce Attorney Shot at Law Office Among 5 People Reportedly Killed in Yuma, Ariz.


An Arizona attorney whose general practice included criminal and family law matters was among five people shot and killed today in Yuma, Ariz. A sixth individual was wounded.

Jerrold Shelley, 62, was slain at his downtown law office, reports the On Deadline blog of USA Today.

The New York Times identified the gunman, who committed suicide after the slayings, as Carey Hal Dyess, 73. His motive is unknown, although the city mayor told Reuters a divorce case may have sparked the slayings.

(As detailed in a subsequent ABAJournal.com post, Shelley reportedly represented Dyess’ ex-wife, who is also believed to be among those slain, and had planned to retire from practice at the end of the day. Additionally, all the victims have now been identified.)

Reuters says the lawyer was shot after other victims, and reports that the slayings began at around 6 a.m. today. USA Today says Shelley was shot around 9:15 a.m.

Attorney Lance Francis, who also practices in Yuma, often referred matters to Shelley, who is described by the newspaper as an older lawyer nearing retirement. “He had a stellar reputation,” said Francis of Shelley. “A good guy and a good lawyer.”

The Yuma County Courthouse and other buildings were on lockdown for a while after the shootings began, but had reopened by noon, according to KTAR.

A city police department spokesman said the shootings are related and are under investigation. Authorities did not provide identities of any of the victims, but fellow Yuma attorneys said Shelley was one of those slain, reports the Yuma Sun.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Slain Divorce Lawyer Represented Ex-Wife of Dead Gunman, Had Expected to Retire from Practice Today”

ABAJournal.com: “Six Shot at Louisiana Law Firm”

ABAJournal.com: “Longtime Friend of Slain Pa. Lawyer Mourns—and Seeks Justice”

ABAJournal.com: “Will Dispute May Have Sparked Slayings of Lawyer and 11 Others; Another 25 Wounded”

Last updated on June 6 to add link to subsequent ABAJournal.com post.

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