Man charged for Basalt window-shooting spree
Aspen, CO Colorado
An 18-year-old Basalt man was arrested for criminal mischief Thursday after allegedly confessing to shooting multiple windows throughout the town with a BB gun last month, according to the Basalt Police Department.
Matthew Gering is suspected of about 12 incidents of criminal mischief that were reported to Basalt police between April 11 and 14.
He is facing one charge, with an estimate of cumulative damage at $10,000, according to a statement from the police department. The criminal mischief charge against him is a class 4 felony because of the dollar amount involved. If considered individually, the incidents could be misdemeanors.
Gering allegedly shot windows in vehicles parked in various neighborhoods and windows of a handful of businesses.
In most cases, his victims were random. In one case, he shot the window of a Subaru because he didn’t like that particular model, according to an arrest warrant that was pursued by Sgt. Stewart Curry of Basalt. In another case, Gering allegedly shot the windows in the vehicle of a friend’s uncle because his friend supposedly didn’t like the man, the arrest warrant affidavit said.
The businesses that had their windows shot were Isberian Rug Co., Harriman Construction, Aspen Floor Coverings, Moni’s and Wells Fargo. A vehicle owned by Mountain Homefitters was also damaged. Other damaged vehicles included a school bus and a Lexus.
Police got a break on April 18 when Curry was approached by someone who had a tip but wanted to remain anonymous. The person said he read an article in the Aspen Daily News about the damaged windows and knew that Gering was responsible for shooting the window of Moni’s.
When contacted by police, Gering initially confessed to one incident but denied shooting any other windows in the Basalt area. Gering told police he “heard” that another person was responsible.
Officers confiscated a BB gun and a “airsoft gun” that shot green pellets from Gering. The same green pellets were found at several of the incident scenes, the arrest affidavit said.
When contacted the next day, Gering allegedly confessed to the dozen Basalt incidents. He said he shot many of the windows while riding in a friend’s car. The driver and two juveniles in the car at the time of the BB shootings weren’t charged because Gering claimed responsibility.
“He’s taking pretty much all the heat for it,” Curry said.
Similar window shooting incidents were reported recently in Garfield and Eagle counties and Carbondale. Gering confessed to shooting windows at a park-and-ride and bus shelter in El Jebel, Curry said, so information was passed on to an investigator with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
The man who was driving the car while Gering allegedly shot the windows in Basalt is being questioned in connection to several similar incidents in Carbondale, according to Curry.
Curry said Gering said he would like to pay for the damage he caused.
Gering isn’t currently employed, however. Curry said that Gering acknowledged being in a “rough patch in his life” and that he was “taking it out on the world” by shooting the windows.
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The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals this week affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against the city of Aspen that challenged its zoning laws concerning Mill Street Plaza, which is home to locally serving businesses.