SIERRA VISTA — A retired soldier well-known in the area for his advocacy and service toward recipients of the Purple Heart was detained by Sierra Vista Police early Saturday after investigators said he fired off a weapon for several hours in his property.
Neighbors of James “Eddie” Weathers began calling police just before 1 a.m. Saturday after they heard several shots ringing out from a residence somewhere on Golf Links Road, Sierra Vista Detective John Andela told the Herald/Review Monday.
After several minutes of searching, police were able to pinpoint that the gunfire was coming from a house at the 1400 block of Golf Links, Andela said.
“Multiple callers said they had heard between 30 and 40 gunshots,” Andela said Monday. “Officers also heard gunshots.”
Once the residence was located, the police department’s Special Response Team was called to the scene so that negotiators could persuade the shooter to surrender.
Andela said Weathers, 51, emerged from the house at 4:32 a.m. While Weathers does not live by himself, Andela said no one was at the residence when police arrived.
After obtaining a search warrant, investigators took a half dozen firearms — handguns and rifles — and ammunition from Weathers’ house. Andela said other evidence was seized as well.
Weathers, a recipient of two Purple Hearts for injuries he sustained in 2006 overseas, was stationed at Fort Huachuca when he retired from the Army in 2012.
He was the commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 572 in Sierra Vista, until he resigned in July 2019.
Before he resigned from the MOPH almost two years ago, he told the Herald/Review that he was passionate about the combat wounded veterans his organization recognized and supports. At the time he explained that the mission of the MOPH was to “foster camaraderie among those veterans and provide service to the veterans and their families.”
In 2018, Weathers was able to track down the family of a soldier whose Purple Heart medal had been found in a Sierra Vista trash can, Herald/Review archives show.
With a military career that spanned 24 years, Weathers joined the Marines after high school, serving from 1987 to 1997, records show. He joined the Army in 1997 and retired after 14 years, in 2012. Weathers served in the infantry for 17 of those years. His last seven years were dedicated to military intelligence at Fort Campbell and then Fort Huachuca.
Weathers sustained his first combat injuries in June 2006 in near eastern Baghdad from an improvised explosive device (IED) strike while riding in the commander seat of a military vehicle. His second injury occurred just a few months later in September, again in Baghdad.
He was one of many advocates responsible for getting Sierra Vista recognized as a Purple Heart City.
Saturday’s incident was not the first one for Weathers. He was charged with discharging firearms in the city limits in September 2019, court records show. This time around he faces that same charge, as well as a second one for disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon.