Green River Star -

By David Martin

Fight over gun lead to court charges


A Green River man faces prison time after an alleged scuffle over a gun.

Ian Punches, 32, of Green River, was arrested June 16 on charges of possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent and reckless endangering. Possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent is a felony-level charge punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $1,000, while reckless endangering is a misdemeanor charge and will have maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a potential fine of up to $750. Punches is in the Sweetwater County Detention Center, being held on a $20,000 cash or surety bond.

According to court documents, the charges stem from a dispute the Green River Police Department responded to at 3:31 a.m., June 16. Officers contacted Daniel Burch at his residence, who said Punches and a second, unknown blonde-haired male had stopped by his house. Burch told officers he and Punches had not spoke to one another for a long time and was unsure of what to think about Punches’ visit. Burch also said he was concerned the second person was too young to drink alcoholic beverages and asked to see his identification. Burch said Punches verified the person’s age, but Burch did not remember anything about Punches’ cohort.

Burch said Punches and his friend eventually left his home, but Punches left his wallet and cell phone. Burch decided to return Punches’ items and walked out of his residence. Once outside, Burch said Punches was waiting in front of his home and wielding a rifle. Burch claims Punches was shouting aggressively and pointed the gun in the air. Burch said he then fought Punches to take the rifle from his hands, which he was able to accomplish. Burch threw the rifle towards his porch and continued to strike Punches until he felt he was no longer a threat. Burch said the two separated and Punches started walking westbound, while Burch thinking Punches would loop around and return to his house. Burch cut through a few lots to catch up with Punches, telling officers he intended to give the wallet and phone back to Punches and tell him he could take his rifle back in the morning. While he was walking, Burch was stopped by a GRPD officer.

A short time later, another GRPD officer had detained Punches and Burch was questioned about the rifle and if there were any other people involved in the incident. Burch said he had tossed the rifle under his porch and claimed no one else was involved in their fight. After officers decided the scene was secured, Burch was searched and the cell phone, wallet, a small pocket knife, a metal container and a can of tobacco were taken from Burch. Burch told officer the container was his and contained a small amount of marijuana.

Ambulances were paged and EMTs looked over both Burch and Punches. Burch had a deep laceration on his left hand, between in pinky and ring finger. He refused transport to the hospital and was treated at the scene.

Punches was escorted into an ambulance by one of the responding officers. Punches had many small scrapes and cuts, including a deeper cut above his left eye that appeared to need stitches.

Burch was eventually freed from his handcuffs and escorted an officer to his residence. Burch told the officer where the rifle could be found under the porch and the rifle was turned over to the officer. Officers then removed a live round from the rifle and removed the loaded magazine.

Additional statements from witnesses supported Burch’s summery of events. After Punches received medical attention at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, he was transported to the county detention center and booked without incident. Punches was given a breathalyzer test at the detention center and blew a .128 BAC. Punches was also noted to be cooperative at both the hospital and through the booking process.

Sgt. Bradley Halter advised Officer Korey Thompson that Punches had told him he had been to the Burch household during the early morning hours and drank hard liquor with Burch and other people. Punches left and realized he left his phone and wallet at the residence. Punches used a friend’s phone to call his cell phone and recognized Burch’s voice on the other line. He then decided to go to Burch’s home and retrieve his items.

Halter claimed Punches told him he grabbed his rifle and loaded one round into the chamber and eight rounds into the magazine. Punches then walked to Burch’s residence, telling Halter he could accomplish more with kindness and a gun.

Halter said Punches told him of a personal philosophy that “You get more with kind words and a gun, than just kind words.”

Halter claimed Punches told him he did not point the gun at anyone and did not intend to use the firearm, saying if he did intend to use it, there would have been people with bullet holes. Upon arriving at Burch’s house, Punches said Burch had beat him and struck him near his left eye, then took his rifle away.

Punches claimed that since Burch had caused the laceration above his left eye that he should be charged with attempted murder and claimed Thomson needed to contact Punches’ eye doctor.

When advised by Thompson that he took a loaded weapon to Burch’s house, Punches allegedly replied “Well, there is that.”


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