Donald Taylor

Donald Taylor was killed April 5 in New River. (Lindsey Taylor/Submitted)

Lindsey Taylor remembers her uncle Donald Taylor as an “awesome person,” someone who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the Army during Desert Storm.

She said he didn’t deserve to die the way he did. 

Taylor was shot and killed during a fight at 7:35 p.m. April 5 near the area of 43rd Avenue and West New River Road in New River, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The man who was taken into custody has since been released. 

“As you know, when MCSO investigates cases such as these, detectives look at the evidence and all the circumstances surrounding the incident,” said Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez, public information officer, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. 

“We understand emotions and opinions run high with these cases, but MCSO detectives make decisions based on the totality of the investigation and the evidence they have at the time. These investigations take time and MCSO is committed to its high standard of investigation.”

Lindsey and her family are distraught over Donald’s death, which they said happened as he was trying to protect his neighbor. He was buried May 6 in West Monroe, Louisiana. 

“He spent years out there building a life for himself, only to be taken from him,” she said. “For someone who loves guns as much as he did, to know the story behind this, this is a veteran soldier they killed. In my mind, I feel like it was set up.”

Donald served as 1st Calvary tank operator in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf War, as well as the Army National Guard. Donald moved from Louisiana to Arizona and lived in a camper. She said he was fond of the outdoors and camping by the Ouachita River, and spending time with friends and family. 

In a gun safe, he kept $50,000, which was gone when the Taylor family arrived in New River. Fifteen guns were returned to the family.

“He had a bunch of guns there, too,” she said. “He had over 300 pounds of ammunition. He was a gun collector. He loved his videogames. He loved his guns, and he loved his nieces and nephews. He was a veteran just like his dad and grandfather. He buried his dad in October. Now he and his dad can talk war stories and watch westerns. He was a cowboy and the nicest person you could imagine.”

Lindsey said Donald was too giving. He was a heavy equipment operator who worked on building the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, per President Donald Trump’s orders. Donald would have been 52 on May 7.

“He spent a lot of his life in the desert in Arizona because he did have PTSD from being in Desert Storm,” Lindsey said. “He was more comfortable being out there.

“It kills me to know it happened and the way it did. There has to be more to it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen. He was robbed. It’s horrible.”