Glenwood cop’s shooter still at large |

Glenwood cop’s shooter still at large

Kelley Cox Post Independent

Local authorities remain seemingly baffled by the July 2007 shooting of Glenwood Springs Police Officer Dustin Marantino. His assailants remain at large, although the investigation into the shooting remains “open and active.”

Two men were arrested in the week immediately following the shooting, but one was released and another remains in custody on unrelated charges, according to Tanny McGinnis, Garfield County Sheriff’s Department’s spokeswoman. Two other possible suspects were arrested later, but also were released.

Sheriff Lou Vallario, whose office took over the investigation at the request of Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson, declined to talk about the case.

“He will not make any comment because it is still an open and active case,” McGinnis said after passing on a reporter’s request for an interview.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Marantino transferred to the Rifle Police Department, returning to the department where he had worked for five years prior to moving to the Glenwood PD. He had been planning the transfer before the shooting incident, and reportedly was only days away from making the switch when he was shot in the chest while on night patrol. He started working at Rifle about two weeks after the shooting.

According to reports about the incident, Marantino was patrolling in his squad car in the area of the Glenwood Airport, at the southern edge of town, at around 10 p.m. on the night of July 29, when he saw someone jump down from atop a fence and then spotted two men walking away from him.

He reportedly called out several times for the men to stop, at which point one of the men turned and fired several shots at Marantino from 10 to 20 feet away, one of which hit him in the chest. The officer returned fire, but was not sure if he hit either of the men. He survived the incident, but only because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

At the time, Wilson speculated that the two men might have intended to burglarize either the city car-impound lot or a nearby group of storage units.

Police quickly released a composite sketch of a “person of interest” in the case, later determined to be Anthony “Speedy” Villegas, who turned up at the police department Aug. 5 and was arrested on a separate charge stemming from a different case.

An Aug. 3 raid on the Roaring Fork Inn led to the arrest of another suspect, Sergio “Smokey” Esteban Ramirez, and a third man, Mauricio Villa Garcia Pena, was arrested Aug. 9 at his mother’s home, on a charge of being an accomplice to the shooting.

On Aug. 22, after a couple of court hearings on the case, the 9th Judicial District Attorney concluded there was not enough evidence to file charges against any of the three. Ramirez and Garcia Pena were both out of jail by Aug. 23, although Villegas is still being held on unrelated charges.

A fourth individual was later arrested in connection with the case, but passed a lie-detector test and was released almost immediately.

Beeson has declined to share any information about the fourth arrest and subsequent release, according to the Post Independent.

“There are certain things that only the perpetrator knows and that we know as investigative agencies and law enforcement agencies,” Beeson said, “and in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation, it would be unwise for me to ask the court to unseal that investigative file at this point.”

McGinnis, too, said no information about the case is being released, and was unable even to say how many of the department’s four detectives are working on the matter.

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