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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kenneth Buck: A Petty But Dangerous Criminal

     In 2012, Kenneth Arnold Buck, a 20-year-old homeless resident of Chandler, Arizona who had a history of shoplifting and petty theft in California, entered a church in Chandler to use the bathroom. Inside the building he encountered the man who taught music at that church. Buck pulled a knife and demanded that the victim turn over his cellphone and wallet.

     The music teacher followed the man who robbed him onto a city bus where he confronted him. Buck responded by breaking into tears, throwing his knife to the bus floor, and giving back the stolen items.

     After pleading guilty to robbery, Buck served three months in the Maricopa County Jail. The judge had also sentenced him to three years probation.

     In January 2013, Chandler police officers arrested Kenneth Buck for public intoxication. At the time of his arrest he was carrying a small quantity of marijuana. The judge added two years to his probation.

     On November 21, 2014, when Mr. Buck violated the terms of his probation by changing his place of residence without his probation officer's permission, and missing several drug tests, the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

     At one in the afternoon of Monday January 5, 2015, police officers in Chandler spotted a man driving a Dodge pickup truck that matched the description of the vehicle associated with a local burglary. The truck bore fictitious out-of-state license plates and was being driven by Kenneth Buck.

     Once he realized the police were tailing him, Buck stepped on the gas and ran a red light. The officers gave chase. After driving a couple of blocks, the driver of the pickup slid open his rear window and started firing shots at the pursing police car. The officers responded with a volley of their own.

     Buck pulled the truck to a stop, climbed out of the vehicle and continued to fire at the officers. In the exchange of gunfire, he was hit several times. Although seriously wounded, Buck managed to climb back into the pickup and drive off. After a short distance, however, the Dodge came to a stop. Inside the vehicle officers found the 22-year-old slumped dead behind the steering wheel.

     Notwithstanding Kenneth Buck's record of relatively minor crime, he turned out to be a dangerous person who could have killed a police officer. 

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