robbery-assault at remote county-line residence; a missing ATV
PCSO investigates; family hopes publicity will help identify suspects
BENSON – Ten days after being shot in the head, Mescal resident Mark Kirk Bigelow “succumbed to his injuries” on November 16 at UMC Banner Hospital, according to a spokesperson for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO). Kirk, age 55, had been found outside his house on the evening of November 6. He had been shot at least once, with the bullet likely striking his left hand before entering his skull.
In a statement released by PCSO on December 5, deputy Cody Gress noted that a 9-1-1 call was received at 5:38pm on November 6 of “an unknown problem” in the 13000 block of South Bell Road. Upon arrival deputies discovered Bigelow “conscious and breathing” but with “obvious signs of trauma.” The Bell Road neighborhood is a remote area on the north end of Mescal situated just west of the Pima / Cochise county line about 20 miles northwest of Benson.
Personnelfrom the Mescal-J6 Fire District, local ambulance service HealthCare Innovations (HCI), and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office also responded. Bigelow was transferred by HCI to a landing zone set up near Mescal Road to facilitate a medical helicopter from Arizona Lifeline which transported him to the hospital.
According to a GoFundMe posting by Bigelow’s daughter Trisha Walker, her father “underwent brain surgery and partial skull removal to relieve swelling of the brain.” He was then placed in a medically induced coma for a few days with an EEG scan showing zero percent brain activity. Bigelow’s medical condition deteriorated, said Walker, until he passed away on the morning of November 16 with family at his side.
In a recent interview, Walker said her family did not learn of the shooting until two days after it occurred when a woman who had been living on and off with Bigelow contacted his brother. The woman was purportedly seen in the Bell Road area on the same day Bigelow was shot.
Walker, who arrived in Arizona from Alabama the next day, discovered that her father’s home had been robbed either before or after the shooting. Several items from inside the house were missing and some larger items like a three-wheel ATV had been removed from the property. Her father owned some guns, but deputies have not told the family whether one of his own weapons was used in the murder.
Deputy Gress reported that authorities were on-scene until 3:00am the next morning gathering evidence and processing the scene. The case was initially assigned to PCSO’s Robbery Assault Unit but upon Bigelow’s death it was reassigned to the Homicide Unit. Investigators, led by detective Chris Hogan, are following-up on leads and have obtained at least one search warrant, but no arrests have been made.
Social media postings by some of Bigelow’s friends and family indicate the shooter is believed to be a man but other people may have been involved. The sheriff’s office, however, would not confirm specific details about the case because of the ongoing investigation.
Gress asked that anyone with information about the shooting call 9-1-1 or detective Hogan at 520-351-3248. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call 520-88-CRIME (collect calls are accepted) or text to 274637. Tips can also be reported online at 88-CRIME.org.
Walker is hoping publicity about her father’s murder will generate new tips that can help authorities move forward with an arrest and conviction. “My dad was a nice man, who may have had a rough life, but he didn’t deserve to die like this,” she said. The GoFundMe campaign was set up, explained Walker, to help the family with expenses because Bigelow had “no medical insurance, no life insurance and no savings to fall back on.”
Two days before he died, Bigelow’s daughter Briana got married at the hospital. Walker said her dad would have wanted to be part of the ceremony, because his family had become very important to him in the last few years. “He was the most gentle hearted man I have ever known,” Walker says of her dad, who moved to Arizona from Michigan in 2011 for a “fresh start” after going through some “rough times.” She recalled that Bigelow enjoyed the warmer weather and liked to hunt rattlesnakes in the desert.
Bigelow had been renting the Bell Road home “for about two years,” according to the man who owns the 10 acre parcel. The property owner confirmed that he and Bigelow had several items stored on the property, and that he has met with detectives to help determine what items are missing.
The GoFundMe campaign is still active athttps://www.gofundme.com/mark-bigelow-medical-fund
Contact reporter Terri Jo Neff at 520-508-3660 and firstname.lastname@example.org