SAFFORD — A man who locked himself inside a shed with two gasoline jugs late last month, reportedly threatening to set himself on fire, was eventually talked down by Safford Police officers.
According to a police report, the man’s wife reported coming home from work the night of Aug. 29 to find him outside the residence, drunk and belligerent. It was then the man, identified as Joseph Vigil, threatened to burn himself. He was reportedly carrying the gasoline jugs. She reportedly locked the door to keep Vigil out, but he kicked the door open and threatened to smash the stove with a sledgehammer.
Instead, Vigil reportedly took the hammer and gasoline into the shed and locked himself inside. On arrival, officers heard Vigil yelling and throwing objects. They noted a strong odor of gasoline from the shed. According to the report, Vigil repeatedly told police to leave. At one point, he partially opened a window, holding what appeared to be a blowtorch. Vigil reportedly tried to ignite the apparent torch with a lighter, leading officers to seek cover. He then put his head out the window yelling for officers to shoot him. An officer delivered a burst of pepper spray to Vigil’s face, and Vigil ducked back into the shed.
Vigil eventually surrendered, after about half an hour of talking with police. He reportedly smelled of gasoline and alcohol. A loaded handgun, also smelling of gasoline as if Vigil had handled it, was reportedly found in the shed. The torchlike device turned out to be a propane tank with an attached hose and a long metal pipe at the end.
Vigil was taken to Mount Graham Regional Medical Center for medical clearance, then booked into jail for criminal damage and disorderly conduct. According to a police report, Vigil had a history of violent crime charges across the country, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other weapons charges in Coconino County (no complaint was filed, according to the report) and aggravated assault in Safford.