Tyler Miller and family

A photo of Tyler Miller and his family. Miller, of Hutchinson, Kansas, was fatally shot Jan. 5 by a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer in Oak Creek Canyon. 

A man who was fatally shot by a Forest Service officer in Oak Creek Canyon last month was walking along Highway 89A naked and bloody after crashing his truck before the officer fired.

That’s according to reports from Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives who responded to the Jan. 5 shooting incident.

Tyler Miller, 51, had been traveling from his home in Kansas to Sedona Wellness Center Soul Adventures, according to family members.

After the incident, Miller's son told authorities that his father was going through a marital separation and had been depressed and was acting strangely, according to a detective’s report. The son was worried Miller was suicidal.

The son also said Miller sent texts about getting God and getting religious that were atypical for him. He said he didn’t believe Miller had slept in a long time, according to the detective’s report.

Forest Service officer Krista Kuhns responded after Miller crashed his truck off to the side of the winding canyon highway near Briar Patch Inn.

“I could hear in her tone she was shaky and was speaking loudly, consistent with an intense situation” Deputy Kyle Walter wrote in his incident report. “Shortly after, I heard across the radio, 'Shots fired.'"

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Investigators confirmed that Miller was not armed.

Kuhns has been put on administrative leave, per Forest Service policy, as the case is being investigated.

A detective’s report stated that, according to a witness, Miller had been throwing rocks at vehicles traveling on 89A after he crashed his truck. Detective Kelly Barr noted multiple softball or greater size rocks located within the roadway.

Barr wrote that based on the location of Miller’s clothing along the road, he likely took off his clothes after emerging from his wrecked truck and as he was walking southbound on Highway 89A.

Another investigator wrote that there was a taser with an expended cartridge lying on the ground at the scene. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the lead investigator on the case and said it has no updates as the investigation is still ongoing.

Miller owned TNT Bonding in Hutchinson, Kansas, and is survived by his wife of 28 years and their four sons, according to a family attorney.

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Emery Cowan can be reached at (928) 556-2250 or ecowan@azdailysun.com


Environment, Health and Science Reporter

Emery Cowan writes about science, health and the environment for the Arizona Daily Sun, covering everything from forest restoration to endangered species recovery efforts.

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