Man charged after near-tragic barbershop shooting SanTan Sun News

Man charged after near-tragic barbershop shooting

May 9th, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Man charged after near-tragic barbershop shooting
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By Jim Walsh

Michael David Hart got angry over a comment made by the owner of a Chandler tattoo parlor, angry enough to go outside to a car and retrieve a gun from the trunk.

What happened next easily could have become tragic.

Chandler police accuse Hart, who has a large tattoo of a woman on his neck, of firing into a barbershop next door, narrowly missing a 4-year-old girl who had been sitting in a chair, watching cartoons on television.

The girl was cut by broken glass in the April 10 shooting at a strip mall in the 500 block of North Alma School Road. Chandler police worked around the clock and eventually tracked down Hart the next day at a house near Dobson High School in Mesa. A suspected accomplice was arrested at another location nearby, according to court records, but charges against him were dropped.

Detective Seth Tyler, a police spokesman, said Hart had been falling asleep in a chair as the owner of the shop tried to give him a tattoo. Hart apparently became enraged when the shop owner suggested that he come back while sober.

A court document filed by Chandler police detectives said a surveillance showed the car in which Hart was riding back up, and then pull forward. Three shots rang out, striking the barbershop, even though the tattoo parlor next door was the intended target, the court document said.

“Two shots pierced the glass at the head level of the girl, passing on either side of her head,’’ the report said. “The reaction of the child is immediate, as she turns and flees away from the glass.’’

The court document said Hart had been working at a cabinet company and had a history of arrests on drug and traffic charges. It said Hart attempted to flee from officers who were surrounding the house, but he was taken into custody.

Eventually, police found a gun in the room where Hart had been staying.

Police quickly identified Hart as a suspect because he was a known customer at the tattoo parlor. Detectives contacted family and friends, including his girlfriend.

“The current girlfriend stated that Michael had been involved in a shooting and that he had “popped of(f) some rounds,’’ the court document said.

Another friend reported to police that Hart told him he was trying to leave the state because he was in trouble. At the time of his arrest, Hart had more than $2,600 in his possession, the court document said.

Hart’s history with the criminal justice system includes a series of drug arrests and other charges mostly related to drug use.

A grand jury subsequently indicted Hart on a series of felony charges, including aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, discharge of a weapon at a structure and misconduct involving a weapon, according to a court document.

The defendant was held without bond until his next court appearance in June. A document noted he had been released on bond in an unrelated 2016 case.

The barbershop incident drew national attention from CNN and a syndicated tabloid television show after police released a video of the incident.

Rafael Nicholas Santos, 21, was arrested by police as an accomplice in the shooting on April 11 in the 2000 block of South Dobson Road. He was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, endangerment and discharging a weapon at a non-residence.

But prosecutors subsequently decided to dismiss all charges against Santos.
Santos was released from a state prison on April 2 after serving a three-year sentence on a misconduct involving weapons charge, according to state Department of Corrections records.

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