Police arrest suspected gunman
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
CLIFTON, Colo. ” The Mesa County SWAT Team on Tuesday arrested the man believed to have shot and killed another man at the Ponderosa Lodge in Glenwood Springs Monday night.
Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said Jesus Hernandez, 33, was taken into custody in Clifton on an arrest warrant from the 9th Judicial District.
Glenwood Springs Police obtained the warrant at 8 or 8:30 p.m., Wilson said. The warrant was issued with a $3 million bond.
Hernandez is charged with felony menacing and first-degree murder and is being held in the Mesa County Jail. Wilson said he will probably appear in Mesa County court today for advisement of the charges.
Wilson said police have determined a motive for the crime, but he is unwilling to divulge it.
“I’m not prepared to give a lot of detail about the investigation process at this time,” Wilson said, though he said identification of the suspect involved information from co-workers and family members of the victim as well as witnesses.
Wilson was quick to commend the work of the Mesa County officers. “They did a marvelous job of taking the gentleman into custody.”
The deceased man’s name won’t be released by authorities until the Garfield County Coroner’s office notifies the man’s next of kin. Deputy coroner Thomas Walton said his office is working to reach the man’s family in Mexico.
Wilson said the victim is a 20-year-old Latino man. He was uncertain if the man is a resident of Mexico.
Walton confirmed witnesses’ reports that the man was shot four times. A shot to the man’s leg shattered the man’s femur, Walton said, and the man was shot three other times in the abdomen.
“The cause of death is going to be multiple gunshot wounds,” Walton said.
Police are classifying the death as a homicide.
What looked like puddles of dried blood on a concrete path remained behind one of the Ponderosa cabins when two detectives knocked on doors Tuesday evening.
Ponderosa resident Charles King said he heard gunshots, went outside and saw a man lying down in the dark. He said he tried to perform CPR on the man.
He believes the area is unsafe. He said it’s dark, and there are lots of drug deals there.
“I think darkness is a huge problem out there,” he said.
Viera disagreed, saying light comes in from the adjacent hotel. He added that if there’s drug activity or other suspicious activity he hasn’t seen it in the five months he’s lived there.
Wilson said it’s “fairly dark” toward the rear of the property, but that he doesn’t recall “large amounts or consistent reports of drug use or suspicious activity” at the Ponderosa cabins.
No one was in the office at the Ponderosa Lodge around 10 a.m. or just before 5 p.m. Crystal Property, which manages the cabins, said they’d relay a message to the owner, whose contact information they wouldn’t give out. The message wasn’t returned.
Brooke Hert, assistant manager at the Affordable Inns next door to the Ponderosa property, said quite a few guests told her they heard the gunshots.
“Immediately after that, they saw a truck speed out of there,” she said.
Wilson said that at least initially, the gunman fled on foot.
Hert, who doesn’t approve of guns, said the situation and the heavily armed law enforcement agents were frightening.
“You don’t want to walk over there,” she said. “You hope no one comes out of the bushes.”
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