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Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters turns herself in to Aspen authorities

Embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters turned herself into Pitkin County law enforcement authorities on Thursday after an arrest warrant was issued for her last week.

She went to the Pitkin County administration building, where the sheriff’s office is located, around 9 p.m., according to Undersheriff Alex Burchetta.

Because it was after hours, Peters used the phone in the vestibule of the building which connects to the sheriff’s office and identified herself and said she was there to turn herself in on a warrant.

A sheriff’s deputy walked her to the jail and booked her at 9:22 p.m. for the outstanding warrant, which carries the charges of contempt of court and a civil protection order violation.

Peters posted a $1,000 cash-only bond and was released at 10:24 p.m., according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

It is unclear why Peters was in Aspen and why she chose to turn herself into the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Burchetta said he didn’t know if she was alone when she showed up at the county administration building.

The Republican clerk, who is an election denier, is accused of election equipment tampering, violating the conditions of her bail bond, as well as a protection order.

She allegedly contacted the director of the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, which she is barred from communicating with any employee in that office.

An arrest warrant was issued last week when she left the state and traveled to Las Vegas for a sheriff’s convention without the permission of the court, which is a condition of her bond.

Peters was out on a $25,000 surety bond after she was indicted by a grand jury related to election equipment tampering.

She’s facing 10 felony counts stemming from a security breach of her county’s election system.

The allegations include attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation.

Peters is under indictment for an alleged break-in of Mesa County’s election system in an attempt to find evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that he didn’t lose the 2020 presidential race but rather that the election was rigged.

Peters was barred by a judge from overseeing local elections this year and last.

Last month she lost her bid as the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in the primary race.

Peters unsuccessfully sought a recount through a notarized letter to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

When she was denied a hand recount, Peters asked multiple county clerks to do their own counting, which included those in Mesa County and that led to the violation of the conditions of her release from jail.

Her Denver-based attorney Harvey Steinberg didn’t return a message on Friday seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Man faces three counts of attempted murder following Thursday shooting in Glenwood Springs

A man suspected of shooting over 50 rounds at police officers and others Thursday morning faces three felony counts of attempted murder and additional charges, a Friday Glenwood Springs Police Department news release states. 

Glenwood Springs resident Craig Allen Robbins, 44, was arrested around 12:50 p.m. Thursday after a standard civil eviction turned into an hourslong standoff in the 1000 block of Riverview Drive. The situation resulted in one person suffering a gunshot wound and being treated at Valley View Hospital.

Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras reported that soon after Robbins was contacted for a civil eviction shortly before 11 a.m., an emergency call was reported of shots fired. Soon after, Robbins fired upon an officer on patrol in the neighborhood.

“The officer made a U-turn and arrived within seconds,” Deras said in the release. “As he arrived, the suspect began firing on him.” 

The officer narrowly escaped injury despite his vehicle being struck twice by large-caliber bullets, the release states.

“Had (the officer) not reacted as quickly as he did, he likely would have been shot as the rounds passed through the passenger compartment and impacted the helmet on his seat,” Deras said in the release. “A second officer arrived on an adjacent street, and he was also fired upon.”

The situation then escalated into nearly a two-hour standoff, with Robbins barricading himself inside his residence while holding a female hostage. Another witness escaped unharmed and sought shelter with law enforcement.

“The witness/victim in the home was safely rescued and distraught to the point where she was unable to communicate and initially provide police with a statement,” Deras said in the release.

Deras said in the release the situation, though originally reported as an active shooter in the traditional sense, changed when Robbins barricaded himself in the residence and held a female against her will. 

Numerous regional law enforcers were dispatched to the area. Assets deployed included a BearCat armored vehicle from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and a defense vehicle from Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

Negotiators established communications with Robbins and he eventually surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody, the release states.  

Investigators would later discover several homes in the neighborhood had bullets travel through their interior. A stray bullet struck the box spring of a child’s bed.

“Investigators recovered several handguns, a shoulder-fired weapon and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition,” Deras said in the release.

Stray bullets were also recovered from the Veltus Park area near a woman and small child, the release states.

“The unique and violent nature of this event affected many in our community,” Deras said in the release. “This includes the victims who were physically harmed, the police officers who were very close to being shot and/or killed, the patrons in the park and the nearby residents.”

Deras also said the community should find solace in seeing the overwhelming response and restraint by “your highly trained first responders from everywhere in this region.”

“There are too many entities that responded to name individually,” he said. “But we must extend our gratitude to each of them.” 

One person wounded, suspect arrested in Glenwood shooting

A suspect was arrested and another person was transported to the hospital with a gunshot wound after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to an active shooter situation in Glenwood Springs on Thursday morning, a Garfield County Sheriff’s Office news release states.

The Glenwood Springs Police Departments responded to multiple shots fired at a residence near the intersection of 10th Street and Riverview Drive shortly before 11 a.m.

The person injured by gunshot was recovered from the scene and taken to Valley View Hospital to be treated. A female was also able to exit the residence safely, the release states.

After more than an hour, negotiators with the Glenwood Springs Police Department and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office talked the suspect out of the residence around 12:41 p.m., the release states. The suspect was taken into custody and officers continued their investigation in the area Thursday.

An ensuing stay-at-home order was issued in response and was lifted Thursday afternoon.

Responding agencies included the Colorado State Patrol, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office surrounding police departments and the Glenwood Springs Fire Department. The Garfield County All Hazards team responded with a BearCat armored vehicle while Eagle County also provided a defense vehicle, the release states.

Man faces first-degree attempted murder charge after striking woman with crowbar in New Castle

Lonnie Nielsen

A Garfield County Corrections security guard jogging in New Castle on Sunday survived being attacked by a former prisoner.

Rifle resident Lonnie Nielsen, 40, faces felony charges of first-degree attempted murder, assault and obstruction of a peace officer. His bond was set at $1 million, and his arraignment was Thursday with 9th Judicial District Court Judge John Neiley.

Nielsen is scheduled to appear again before Neiley at 9:30 a.m. July 14.

Nielsen was arrested around 12:35 p.m. Sunday after he allegedly struck the jogger in the back of the head with a crowbar, an arrest affidavit states.

The jogger is a Garfield County Corrections security officer who worked closely with Nielsen. Nielsen previously served 20 years for murder and was out on parole, the record states.

“The staff noticed him growing an infatuation with (the victim),” the affidavit states.

The female would tell investigators she was jogging in a more secluded area at Rollie Gordon Park when Nielsen allegedly struck her with the crowbar. Nielsen reportedly parked a half mile away and waited for her to appear.

The jogger left her residence and didn’t see Nielsen approach her when she made her way up a trail, the record states. Once struck, the jogger turned around and identified Nielsen, who was holding the crowbar in one hand, as well as a knife in the other.

“Lonnie stated, ‘I could kill you right now if I wanted to,’” the affidavit states.

Once Nielsen realized what he had done, he dropped to his knees, pressed the knife to his neck and began saying he was going to end his own life, the affidavit states.

“(The victim) stated Lonnie pressed the knife on his neck hard enough to make him bleed,” the affidavit states. “And she told him not to do that.”

At this point, the victim noticed a person walking a dog nearby. The victim then turned away to try and conceal her injury. She also convinced Nielsen to go to his car to get water. When Nielsen agreed, she ran back to her residence and called 911 with her husband.

The victim was then taken to Valley View Hospital, where she received multiple stitches, the affidavit states.

Meanwhile, New Castle Patrol Officer Christopher Contreras was dispatched to the area after receiving a report of a woman covered in blood at Rollie Gordon Park.

Contreras encountered Nielsen running on a nearby road, noticed Nielsen was bleeding from his neck and began asking him questions, the affidavit states.

At this point, Nielsen allegedly tried running away through a nearby alleyway. Contreras eventually caught up to Nielsen, pushed him mid-stride into a fence and placed him in handcuffs while he was on the ground.

“The male had shortness of breath and was sweating profusely,” the affidavit states.

Nielsen was taken to Grand River Health in Rifle before being booked into custody at the Garfield County Jail.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@postindependent.com


One juvenile charged after gel-bead gun shooting incident in Carbondale

One juvenile suspect is facing menacing and assault charges after allegedly shooting a toy gun designed to discharge Orbeez gel beads at students and others on Thursday.

Initially, three juveniles were detained by Carbondale police after receiving a midday report of the gel beads being fired at a group of middle school students in Miners Park, and later at adults in the downtown area.

“Information shared by the juveniles and other witnesses and evidence collected led Carbondale officers to contact two other juveniles,” a Carbondale Police Department news release issued on Friday stated.

The juvenile suspects were allegedly riding in the silver sedan shooting Orbeez, a type of non-lethal soft gel bead, at students who were on a school outing in the park.

Another vehicle initially identified by the victims and witnesses was not involved in the incident, the release stated.

One juvenile was ultimately charged with six counts each of menacing and third-degree assault.

“At this time, the juvenile is innocent until proven guilty,” the release states.

Carbondale officers are still seeking help in locating any other witnesses who might have seen the incident that allegedly occurred downtown, by calling 970-963-2662.

“Carbondale Police Department wants to encourage parents to talk to their kids about how dangerous it can be to use any type of weapon including non-lethal,” the release states.

Warrant active for man accused of ripping off Aspen restaurants

Shawn Auer
Pitkin County Jailgoo

A man is wanted for failing to appear in court last week to answer charges that he allegedly stole fine cigars and a bottle of wine from an Aspen liquor store and refused to pay for two restaurant meals because he said one was tainted with pork and the other with hair.

Pitkin County Judge Ashley Andrews issued a warrant for the arrest of Shawn Auer at the close of courthouse hours May 17 after he allegedly failed to appear for a status conference concerning a multitude of offenses he faces. The charges recently were consolidated into one case.

“I’m concerned that there could be a another theft and really I’m concerned Mr. Auer is not going to show up for court,” said prosecutor Wes Stokes, noting Auer’s criminal history includes charges of shoplifting and theft in New Mexico, where he also failed to make scheduled court appearances. Stokes’ remarks came during last week’s court session where Auer was a no-show.

Charging documents for Auer list his current residence as Belleville, Illinois, and his age as 48. He remained at large as of Monday, according to officials.

Auer’s recent dust-ups at local businesses are documented in police filings.

• May 6 — Aspen police were called to Steakhouse 316 on East Hopkins Avenue for report of a patron who was unhappy with his meal because of a strand of hair he claimed was in his food. The diner, Auer, was comped for the food containing the hair but refused to pay for the rest of the meal, according to a police report.

“Auer adamantly refused to pay his bill and I explained to him that if he has an issue with the restaurant what avenues he could take, but he can’t eat and drink and not pay his bill,” responding Officer Amanda Severin wrote in the report. “Auer didn’t seem to care. I asked him numerous times if he would pay the bill and Auer said he will not pay the bill and to arrest him.”

Police did that and took him to Aspen Police Department and an officer issued a summons for misdemeanor theft, read him his rights and told him not to return to the restaurant or face trespassing charges.

• May 13 — Shortly after 7 p.m., police arrested Auer at the Red Mountain Grill at the Aspen Golf Course after he allegedly refused to pay a bill for a meal he had there earlier in the week. Auer was on the premises that day looking for rental clubs, and Red Mountain Grill management had kept the receipt for his unpaid meal from days earlier. When a manager confronted Auer about the outstanding receipt, “Auer became belligerent with the staff by yelling and cussing at them, and posturing like he was going to fight,” according to a witness statement to police.

Police arrived and Auer denied any wrongdoing, according to a report from Officer Severin, who had cited him a week earlier for the hair-in-the-food dispute.

“I told Auer he is making it a habit of eating at places and refusing to pay,” said Severin’s report of the May 13 incident. “Auer yelled at me that Red Mountain Grill poisoned him by serving him pork.”

Auer had previously complained that the restaurant staff had “poisoned him” because he’s “100% Jewish” and can’t consume pork.

Management also said Auer had been scheduling tee times at the course under the name of “Leo Christ” but was not keeping his appointments.

Again, police took Auer took to downtown headquarters where he was summonsed for misdemeanor theft and disorderly conduct. Police also let Auer know he’d been 86ed from Red Mountain Grill and the golf club. He was then released from custody.

• May 13 — Later on that date, at approximately 9:01 p.m., police received a call from The Aspen Store about a man who swiped some power drinks and was behaving aggressively toward the store clerk. Auer was not at the store at the time police responded, but Officer Ritchie Zah located him down the block in the dining area outside of Mi Chola, according to a report from Officer Roderick O’Connor.

“I asked Auer, who was smoking a cigar, about his stealing drinks from The Aspen Store and where the bag he took was located,” O’Connor’s report said. “Auer was not forthcoming about the bag, but mentioned he was at Mi Chola to eat.”

O’Connor, however, arrested Auer for theft after he found the power drinks in a bag Auer had left inside the restaurant. It was the second time in the same evening Auer had been cited for theft, but the pork meal and power drinks weren’t all he had allegedly taken.

Officer Severin, who also reported to Mi Chola, also found Auer in possession of one bottle of Opus One Cabernet with a price tag of $389.99, along with four cigars valued at $52.87. Those items had been swiped from the Local Spirits shop next to The Aspen Store, O’Connor reported.

Auer appeared for his advisement on May 14, but that is the last authorities had heard of him as of Monday.


Teen in Aspen hit-and-run sentenced to 25 days in jail, two years of supervised probation

Aspen Police Officers and State Patrol investigate the crosswalk outside of the Aspen Police Department where a hit-and-run took place Dec. 21 on Main Street in Aspen. A 58-year-old man sustained severe injuries after being struck by an SUV while he was crossing the street. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

An 18-year-old Florida high school senior who pleaded guilty Monday to a hit-and-run felony charge as part of a plea agreement will begin a 25-day county jail sentence May 30.

“I hit Mr. (Dave) Rossi as he was crossing the street and then left the scene of the accident,” defendant Spencer Diamond told Pitkin County District Judge Chris Seldin of the December incident in downtown Aspen.

Diamond pleaded guilty to the Class 4 felony charge of leaving the scene of a Dec. 21 accident with serious bodily injury. A conviction carries a presumptive prison range of two to six years, but the plea agreement strayed from those guidelines given Diamond’s age and her admission of guilt and remorse, attorneys said. She also was not intoxicated at the time of the collision, according to prosecutor Don Nottingham.

Diamond agreed to supervised probation for the next two years as part of the agreement. She also must perform 120 hours of community service, which Diamond already is close to completing through her volunteer work at a soup kitchen in South Florida, according to her defense counsel, Kate Stimson of the Denver firm Stimson Stancil LaBranche Hubbard LLC.

The felony will be removed from Diamond’s record if she successfully completes her probation without any criminal citations or arrests. Diamond also pleaded guilty to careless driving causing injury relating to the December incident, and she entered a guilty plea to a careless driving charge related to a different incident in July.

Diamond sat next to her mother during the entire virtual arraignment hearing, which was held nearly five months after she drove a Range Rover into a Basalt man crossing East Main Street in front of the Aspen Police Department building. Victim Dave Rossi was alone crossing the street when the SUV struck him at approximately 11:52 p.m. Dec. 21, authorities said.

“Certainly the most aggravating part of this case is not Ms. Diamond’s driving, which was not the greatest,” said Nottingham, adding that “it’s the fact that she left the scene. She got out of her car, saw Mr. Rossi, and left the scene, which could be described as disgusting, abhorrent, really bad behavior, really dangerous behavior. Luckily this did happen in a populated area where there were other people there who did give Mr. Rossi the help that he needed.“

Rossi suffered head injuries and a broken pelvis, among other injuries.

“It caused really significant injuries to Mr. Rossi,” said Nottingham. “There was certainly concern that Mr. Rossi might die from those injuries. He had to be transported via helicopter (to Denver) … from Aspen to a more capable hospital for dealing with that level of trauma.”

Rossi’s attorney, Michael Fox, attended the hearing and did not object to the plea agreement. Diamond also will be ordered to pay restitution as part of the deal, though the amount has not yet been determined.

“Mr. Rossi is not here, and he does not wish to make a statement, and I don’t wish to make a statement,” Fox said.

Aspen police, aided by community tips and video footage that showed the green Land Rover that Diamond was driving, arrested Diamond the day after the accident at her mother and stepfather’s Aspen residence. Diamond has taken responsibility for what happened ever since police arrested her, Nottingham said.

“I would say from about that moment on, Ms. Diamond has done things just about as well as she can,” Nottingham said. “She admitted to what happened. Her mother and stepfather behaved appropriately with the appropriate amount of shock, I think, for finding out this had happened and not a desire to hide Ms. Diamond’s behavior.”

Diamond made a poor choice and panicked when she left the scene, Stimson said, noting it was dark outside and she did not see Rossi because of “how he was crossing.”

“Her driving was not compromised, but she did strike him,” Stimson said. “She did pull over. There were other people who attended and called 911. Then she made a bad decision of leaving. She’s a senior in high school, 18 years old, and she just made a bad decision.”

Diamond will graduate this month, after which she will begin her jail sentence. She plans to attend college in California this fall.

Diamond will need permission from California’s legal authorities to continue her supervised probation when she’s in school. Diamond plans to stay with her parents this summer and start college around fall. As part of her probation, she cannot consume alcohol or marijuana.

There was no evidence showing that Diamond was under the influence when she hit Rossi, Nottingham said.

“I’m convinced that Ms. Diamond was not intoxicated,” he said. “But I don’t think, necessarily, that she, as young person, has sustained from that sort of behavior, and I do have concerns in that regard, but the evidence on a whole indicates she was not intoxicated; she was simply an 18-year-old who panicked and did something really stupid. Stupid and dangerous, I should say, and left Mr. Rossi at the scene.”

In an Aspen Times article published in early January, Rossi said he harbored no ill will toward Diamond.

“He appears to be a remarkably forgiving person where someone might be angry and vindictive about this having happened to them,” Nottingham said.

Diamond also has demonstrated that she has learned a lesson, said Nottingham.

“I think that says something about Diamond, that she has agreed to that (going to jail), from the point of view that she recognizes that this is where she ends up if she continues to engage in behavior like this,” he said. “I expect her to complete this deferred-judgment sentence successfully.”

Likewise, Stimson said the sentence is appropriate.

“It does allow her to move on with her life and put this behind her, but it also recognizes the severity of what happened,” she said, noting what Rossi experienced “was horrible.”

Diamond is the daughter of Aspenite Sue Hostetler, who is married to billionaire William Wrigley Jr.

“In a case like this, knowing Ms. Diamond’s age and her socio-economic position, is that Ms. Diamond may think that she’s the sort of person that gets in less trouble than some others, doesn’t see herself in the same population as some of the folks who go before a district court judge,” Nottingham said. “And it’s important to my office, it’s important to me, that she recognizes that her behavior in the eyes of the law doesn’t depend on what car she’s driving or what college she’s going to or anything else. It depends on her culpability and her actions, and for that reason, Ms. Stimson and I have worked out a disposition … she should not a face a lifetime felony conviction.”

Diamond will get jail credit for the one day she already served at the time of her arrest. With good behavior, her sentence could be cut by 10 or 11 days, Nottingham said.


Johnsons retain counsel in $5.2 million fraud suit

Attorneys for a local couple entangled in a multimillion-dollar fraud lawsuit with the insurer of Aspen Skiing Co. are disputing the amount allegedly owed.

Derek and Kerri Johnson face a federal lawsuit filed in November by National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, which is seeking $5.2 million from the couple.

That’s the amount the company said it covered for Aspen Skiing Co. and parent Henry Crown and Co.’s financial losses stemming from the couple’s ski-selling scam when Derek Johnson held an executive position with Skico. Skico and Henry Crown and Co. were reimbursed through their their “employee dishonesty” coverage with National Union Insurance. The suit maintains the Johnsons should be held responsible for that amount because of the fraudulent activity they carried out from 2006 to 2018 leading to their criminal convictions.

“Defendants dispute that the amount paid was proper,” was the entire stated position of the Johnsons in a proposed scheduling order introduced Monday in U.S. District Court. Attorneys on both sides jointly filed the proposal.

The Johnsons, in accordance with a court order, retained the pro bono defense counsel of Joshua Landy and David Tenner on April 26, according to filings. Landy and Tenner did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.

“Defendant Derek Johnson, in his capacity as managing director for Aspen (Skiing Co.), purposely purchased more inventory than was actually needed by Aspen so that any inventory misappropriated by Mr. Johnson was more likely to go unnoticed by Aspen,” read an excerpt from the summary of the allegations, which was included in the proposed scheduling order. “After that inventory was misappropriated by Mr. Johnson, he removed the insignia from the inventory that identified it as property of Aspen and listed the misappropriated inventory for sale online. The Defendants accepted payment from the misappropriated inventory and shipped the misappropriated inventory to buyers in boxes that were also misappropriated from Aspen.”

Local Derek Johnson in downtown Aspen after returning home from his period of incarceration on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Each Johnson admitted criminal wrongdoing. Derek Johnson, also a former Aspen City Council member, pleaded guilty in November 2019 to Class 3 felony theft and was sentenced the following January to six years in state prison. He was released from a halfway house in the Denver area in February. Kerri Johnson was not a Skico employee; she pleaded guilty to Class 4 felony theft in December 2019 and was sentenced to 90 days in the Pitkin County Jail and five years of probation.

The Aspen Times asked Johnson in February, before he and his wife had counsel in the lawsuit, about the business arrangement he initially had with Aspen Skiing Co. in 2001. That year, Skico acquired a company Johnson co-founded in 1993 — D&E Ski and Snowboard Shops — and made Johnson its managing director of retail and rental operations.

In that interview, Johnson said he and Skico initially had an arrangement where he would sell dated inventory online.

“This started at 100% legit … and it was a normal practice and then it snowballed,” he said in comments that were not printed in the original interview story. “I let that happen. I let it get away from me. I didn’t pay attention. I can make it sound so clean and sterile and appropriate, but I f—ed up. One hundred percent f—ed up … and one year led to two led to three led to four. I f—ed up.”

Asked about how he justified doing it at the time, Johnson said: “My rationale was this stuff is obsolete. That was my rationale. Again, my rationale, my f–k up, my wrong, my bad. It’s much easier to look at today. I was in a different place, I was in a different world. I was in a different person.”

Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher in Grand Junction has been overseeing the proceedings in the civil case.


Basalt bartender’s disdain for local vodka triggers incident that leads to arrest on suspicion of menacing, assault

Christopher D. Barker
Eagle County Jail booking photo

A Basalt bartender was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing, stalking and three misdemeanors after he allegedly went into a violent rage Tuesday when he learned a customer worked for Woody Creek Distillery.

Christopher D. Barker, 43, of Aspen Village, was arrested after a tense 20 minutes that included his alleged assault of his boss and another co-worker, pursuit of two customers outside of the restaurant and a confrontation with another man who intervened, according to Basalt Police Chief Greg Knott. Barker allegedly pulled a knife on the intervenor and the intervenor responded by pulling a handgun, according to an affidavit for a warrantless arrest filed in Eagle County District Court by Basalt police.

Knott said it was fortunate the episode didn’t end in tragedy after the intervenor pulled his handgun out of a holster during the chaotic moments when the first officer, Lt. Aaron Munch, arrived on the scene. The intervenor intended to show he posed no threat to officers but the action of pulling his gun could have easily been misconstrued, Knott said.

“Lt. Munch showed great restraint and control of the situation,” Knott said.

The arrest warrant said a woman was drinking at the Ocean restaurant’s bar in Willits Town Center with a male companion at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when Barker noticed the Woody Creek Distillery logo on the woman’s shirt.

“Christopher commented stating something to the effect of ‘Your vodka sucks,’” the arrest affidavit said. “Christopher continue to give his negative opinion on Woody Creek Distillery, making it extremely uncomfortable for (the woman and man).”

The customers decided to leave but Barker continued to be aggressive toward them, according to police. The owner of the restaurant and other employees tried to restrain Barker as he attempted to chase the man and woman as they departed. The owner later told police he feared Barker wanted to physically harm the woman.

Barker allegedly elbowed his boss in the face and punched him in the stomach as Barker attempted to get at the customers. Barker also allegedly slammed another co-worker’s hand in the door while employees were trying to prevent him from attacking the customers.

Several employees of the restaurant restrained Barker while the customers departed. The customers initially entered a neighboring restaurant but left when they found it too full. Meanwhile, the Ocean’s owner ordered Barker out of the restaurant.

Incident spills into neighboring business

Barker and the two customers made contact by chance about 1½ blocks away from Ocean restaurant. He flipped them off while they flipped him off, the affidavit said. Barker allegedly gave chase and the couple ducked into a nearby business seeking refuge.

“(The female customer) was hiding in one of the offices as (the male customer) and staff requested (Barker) leave,” the affidavit said.

The woman later told police she feared for her life while she was in hiding. She called a friend who lives nearby in Willits. The friend’s husband heard about the woman’s predicament and decided to help, Knott said. The intervenor went to the business where the woman was hiding and got into a physical altercation with Barker, according to witnesses.

Barker allegedly pulled out a knife used by bartenders to open wine bottles and threatened the intervenor, the affidavit said. The intervenor “showed Christopher that he had a gun,” the affidavit said. “Christopher continued to threaten (the intervenor) as he moved towards him. (The intervenor) then pulled the gun out and pointed it at Christopher.”

Barker dropped his knife shortly before Lt. Munch arrived at the scene. The 911 calls to police dispatch disclosed that weapons were involved, so Munch exited his car with his handgun drawn.

Chaos greets first officer

Munch encountered a scene at the sidewalk along Robinson Street with one man screaming (Barker) and another man (the intervenor) a short distance away with a pistol visible in his holster, according to footage from Munch’s body cam. The Aspen Times reviewed that footage.

Munch ordered the man with the gun to get down on his knees and as the man started to comply, he calmly pulled his pistol out of the holster and set it on the ground. Munch was clearly concerned while the man was pulling out the handgun and screamed at the man to get face down to the ground and then crawl away from the gun. Almost simultaneously he ordered Barker to sit on the sidewalk. Another officer arrived and both men were placed in handcuffs for “investigative custody,” the affidavit said.

Knott said he interviewed the man who intervened in the dispute and learned he had intended to show he was compliant when he removed the pistol from the holster. He said he later realized his action could have been construed differently by the police officer, according to Knott.

The intervenor wasn’t arrested though Basalt police asked the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office to review the incident and rule whether a charge was warranted.

Multiple witnesses, some with videos, confirmed that the intervenor pulled his handgun only after Barker made threats with a knife and allegedly yelled “I’m going to kill you,” according to the affidavit.

Officer Nino Santiago questioned Barker and said he smelled alcohol on Barker’s breath. Barker admitted he was drinking that day and that he had experienced some mental health issues, the affidavit said.

Barker was arrested on suspicion of two counts of third-degree assault for actions against two of his co-workers who tried to restrain him at Ocean. He was also arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief for other actions at the restaurant.

Barker was arrested on a charge of suspicion of stalking, a class 5 felony, for following the female and male customers out of Ocean. He was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing for pulling the knife and threatening the intervenor.

He was taken to Eagle County Detention Center on Tuesday night. Jail records show he was released Wednesday after posting $2,500 bail. His first appearance in Eagle County Court is May 6.


Rifle juvenile suspected in fatal shooting held without bond, judge orders

Members of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office gather at an apartment complex on Patterson Road in Grand Junction on Monday following the arrest of the Garfield County juvenile wanted in a fatal Sunday shooting. Dale Shrull / Grand Junction Sentinel

A juvenile arrested in connection to a fatal Sunday morning shooting at a quinceanera birthday near Rifle is being held without bond.

D’Antiago “Dante” Lazaro Dominguez-Lopez, 17, was arrested Monday in Mesa County. He was wanted for the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old male at the celebration on Home Ranch Road shortly after midnight Sunday.

Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find the victim still alive, but he was later pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.

Garfield County District Court Judge Paul Metzger made the order to detain Lopez without bond during the Rifle juvenile’s initial appearance Tuesday morning.

“Under these circumstances, having reviewed the affidavit and considered the arguments of the parties, I do ultimately conclude that the juvenile poses a substantial risk of serious harm to others, and therefore find that he should remain in detention at this time,” Metzger said.

According to prosecuting attorney Tony Hershey, Lopez was already on probation for felony menacing with a knife prior to his Monday arrest. Meanwhile, Lopez also allegedly possessed two handguns and brass knuckles when he was arrested by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

D’Antiago 'Dante' Lazaro Dominguez-Lopez

“After the incident in this case, (Lopez) did flee the county, he went to Mesa County,” Hershey said. “I believe at some point he was contacted by his mother and sister, and that’s when he was apprehended.”

Garfield County public defender Elise Myer requested Lopez be released from detention because he does not pose a flight risk and that facts in connection to his new homicide case are currently “limited.”

Myer also said Lopez has been abiding to the terms of his probation and was working concrete with his father prior to his Monday arrest.

“These are incredibly serious crimes, but he is presumed innocent,” Myer said. “D’Antiago is willing to abide by any conditions the court may put on a release. He is happy to stay at home with his family, to not leave. He has a good relationship with his family, with his parents, with his siblings.”

Lopez’s next court date is set for May 11.