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Police drop charges against ROTC student arrested in Preserve

Police have dropped charges against an 18-year-old Scottsdale man who dressed in military fatigues and toted a faux rifle on a trail at McDowell Sonoran Preserve last week.

Max Hoemke was arrested Aug. 11 for disorderly conduct stemming from the early-morning incident which gave hikers a scare and put local authorities on alert. However, consultation with the city prosecutor’s office and interviews with Hoemke and his family led police to drop charges, said Sgt. Mark Clark, a Scottsdale police spokesman.

"All parties have agreed that criminal charges in this matter are not in the best interest of justice," Clark said.

Hoemke reportedly told officers that he was preparing for upcoming ROTC classes, and police determined that the gun he carried was an Airsoft-type gun, not a firearm.

However, authorities took the suspicious sighting seriously. Police and Scottsdale Unified School District had made preparations to lock down nearby schools as a precaution, before investigators deemed it safe for students to go to school that day.

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