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Cops: Grand Junction shooting suspect attended dental school

Paul Shockley
Grand Junction correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Stefan Alexander Martin-Urban
ALL |

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” The suspect in Saturday’s shootings that killed dentist Terry Fine and retired teacher Flo Gallagher had studied dental hygiene at a Utah college.

Stefan Alexander Martin-Urban, 22, quit the dental hygienist program this past spring, according to Dan McCasky, investigations chief with the Lakewood Police Department on the Front Range of Colorado.

McCasky did not pinpoint time frames Martin-Urban attended classes or identify the college.

Grand Junction police Monday confirmed Martin-Urban’s enrollment at Dixie State College, which is in St. George, Utah.

“There’s no connection to Dr. Fine that we’ve found,” said police spokeswoman Kate Porras.

Fine, 61, a dentist practicing 25 years in the Grand Valley, and Gallagher, 60, were shot and killed by Martin-Urban on Saturday morning in the driveway of the Fine family home at 2631 Chestnut Drive in Grand Junction.

Martin-Urban moved in with his aunt in Lakewood on Aug. 20 and had been looking for a job, McCasky said.

Martin-Urban’s aunt contacted Lakewood Police Friday morning when she woke and found her 1998 Honda CRV gone, along with her cell phone.

“She was concerned more than anything about her car and her phone,” McCasky said.

Martin-Urban’s aunt did not formally report him missing or the car stolen.

“When (Lakewood officers) explained to her what would happen if a stolen report was entered into the system ” that he’d be arrested at gunpoint ” she backed off,” McCasky said.

Moreover, the detective said Martin-Urban’s aunt wasn’t concerned about his safety or mental health.

“She indicated it was not unusual for him to take off and be gone a day or two,” McCasky said.

The affidavit said Martin-Urban’s aunt said her nephew might be suicidal. Sources in the investigation last weekend said Martin-Urban had expressed suicidal thoughts before leaving the Front Range.

That information is included in the Grand Junction police search warrant affidavit released Monday night. The affidavit attributes the statements to a Lakewood police sergeant.

“The sergeant has denied saying that,” McCasky said. “Apparently, there was miscommunication between us and Grand Junction.”

Lakewood authorities have confirmed Martin-Urban was home Thursday night.

Martin-Urban’s aunt thought it was strange he would leave Friday, because the two had plans to visit a family member at an area hospice.

Several of Martin-Urban’s family members were expected to fly in for the visit, McCasky said.

“She was unaware he’d bought a gun,” he said.

Grand Junction Deputy Police Chief Troy Smith on Monday said Martin-Urban purchased a 9 mm handgun and ammunition used in the shootings on Oct. 2 at Lakewood’s Green Mountain Guns.

A manager there declined comment to the Free Press.

Police also believe Martin-Urban may have followed Michael and Flo Gallagher on the morning of the shooting. According to a search warrant affidavit, Michael Gallagher noticed a green SUV making a U-turn, using his driveway, while the Gallaghers were leaving for the Fine home about two miles away.

The information is based on statements from Gallagher.

At about 8:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., the Gallaghers pulled up to the intersection of 27 and G roads. Police believe the shooter “was behind the Gallaghers at that time,” a news release said.

Anyone who may have seen a silver BMW followed by a green SUV is asked to call a tipline set up for the investigation, 244-3755.

The Fines and Gallaghers were about to leave on vacation to Las Vegas when they were confronted.

Police also know more about Martin-Urban’s movements hours before the shooting.

A receipt found in the suspect’s SUV showed he bought gas at a local convenience store Friday morning, but purchased dinner around 8 p.m. roughly 100 miles west of Grand Junction at Burger King in Green River, Utah.

Dustin Gingerich, a manager at the Burger King who worked Friday night, said an “average type dude” paid cash for three sandwiches, French fries and a water ” to go.

Gingerich said the man “acted like he was out there.”He was a little bit skittish, itching and scratching his face and arms,” said Gingerich, 25, who has been interviewed by Grand Junction detectives.

“We don’t get too many customers, so I remember almost all of them.”

Gingerich, who said he served the man, said there was no small talk.

“He asked for a glass of water and that was it.”

pshockley@gjfreepress.com


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