Parachute gun suspect in custody |

Parachute gun suspect in custody

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jared Thomas Burtard

PARACHUTE – The manhunt is over.

Jared Thomas Burtard, 21, was brought into custody in Mesa County at about 9 p.m. Thursday, according to Garfield County dispatch. Few details were available.

Authorities said Burtard pointed a .22-caliber rifle at his brother-in-law Wednesday during a family dispute. A concerned citizen notified police when Burtard was seen leaving the residence with the loaded gun. He was traveling on foot and thought to be heading out of town toward the northwest.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about Burtard and his background.

Calls from the Glenwood Springs Post Independent to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a Jared Thomas Burtard, with the same birth date, of Canon City, spent time in the Fremont County Jail for vehicular homicide and conspiracy to possess a controlled substance in 2004. Charges of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, from 2003, were dropped by a Fremont County district attorney.

According to a Pueblo Chieftain news article, the vehicular homicide conviction stemmed from a May 2003 crash on Colorado 115 when two vehicles were racing. The accident was attributed to his use of a controlled substance and excessive speed. A 17-year-old passenger died after being ejected from the back seat of the vehicle.

Wednesday’s incident prompted a response by the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team, but it had stopped searching for Burtard by late Thursday morning

Cindy Rush, a clerk at a Parachute Shell station, said she heard about the situation when her husband called her after receiving a reverse 911 call ” a way for authorities to warn the public. With Burtard on the loose, authorities urged Parachute residents Wednesday to lock their doors and window and keep a eye out.

“It was kind of scary to go in our back room and take the trash out because you don’t know where he’s at,” she said.

She recognized Burtard’s photograph from him visiting the Shell station.

“I never noticed anything strange about him,” she said.

A woman at a grocery store who didn’t want to be identified said one of her employees was too scared to stay at work alone and went home Wednesday.

Grand Valley High School Principal Ryan Frink said the doors to the school were locked and the blinds drawn, but that students attended classes as usual during Wednesday’s lockdown. The school received information through its student resource officer, who was present in the building. Everything was back to normal at the high school on Thursday.

“You’re always going to have emotions involved with an unknown,” Frink said.

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