Rash of violent crime sweeps Glenwood
August 15, 2006
Police are seeking suspects in a number of recent violent crimes in Glenwood Springs, including a shooting and a rape on Friday, and an attack on a bather at the hot pots Saturday night.
The incidents are part of a flurry of activity in the last few weeks for the police department, which also is investigating a string of burglaries, took a report of a missing man last seen at the hot pots, and responded to a weekend report of an attack with a champagne bottle following a wedding reception at the Community Center.
Police Chief Terry Wilson is hoping for the public’s help in apprehending the man who shot another man late Friday night in the parking lot of the Oasis Restaurant in West Glenwood.
“Somebody in town is aware of the individual that we’re looking for. Somebody in town is aware who it is that did this and whether or not he is here,” Wilson said.
Wilson hopes anyone with that knowledge will contact police, and be cautious of the shooter in the meantime.
“Certainly someone who has gone to this point I would consider to be dangerous until they are in jail,” Wilson said.
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Oscar Contreras, the brother of Oasis owner Axel Contreras, was shot with a handgun in the right leg after the shooter was refused entry into the restaurant because he was too drunk, Axel Contreras said Saturday. He believes his brother wasn’t being specifically targeted, but was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Oscar Contreras was not seriously wounded in the shooting.
Anyone with information can contact police at 384-6500.
The assailant could face attempted murder, assault, felony menacing and other charges.
Among other recent Glenwood police activity:
A 23-year-old Glenwood woman was attacked by three men and raped between 1 and 2 a.m. Friday when she was walking from downtown to West Glenwood.
The woman had stopped in a driveway near the Best Western Antlers on 6th Street to look for a pay phone when a car pulled into the lot and three men emerged and approached her from behind, she told police.
They tripped her to the ground, scraping her knee, and one of them sexually assaulted her while the other two held her down, Wilson said.
The woman described her assailants as all being Latino. One was about 5-foot-10, clean shaven, about 180 pounds and 30 years old. The second had short hair and a goatee, was 5-foot-5 and about 150 pounds, and 25 or younger. The third was about the same height and weight as the second, clean-shaven, and wore a white T-shirt and baggy jeans.
The car was white, with “GT” on the side, and may have been a Pontiac Grand Am, Wilson said.
Wilson said the assault occurred in a “pretty visible” location, which was surprising.
“It’s a very disturbing situation. That’s just a very unusual occurrence here and pretty bold,” he said.
A 42-year-old Rifle man suffered several injuries to the head when he was attacked Saturday at about 8 p.m. in the hot pots on the Colorado River at the Interstate 70 interchange.
Wilson said the man was soaking in the hot pots when he was surrounded by eight to 10 men.
“They came up all the sudden, surrounded him, said he was in their territory and needed to leave,” Wilson said.
When he started to get out, he was pushed or hit and tumbled down a hill, striking some rocks, Wilson said. He suffered a gash to the head, a chipped tooth and a bloody nose.
Wilson said the men were described as being Latino, with some of them wearing T-shirts and others football jerseys. He said it didn’t sound as if the attack was racially motivated.
A man last seen at 10 p.m. Friday at the hot pots remains missing.
Edgar Gonzalez Ávila, 23, is presumed to have been drinking the night of his disappearance, said his roommate, Francisco Lopez. Gonzalez Ávila is described as being 5-foot-8, with greenish eyes, brown hair and a light complexion.
Wilson said no river search is planned at this time, but he left open the possibility that Gonzalez Ávila ended up in the Colorado River.
“That’s the last place he was known to be going and he hasn’t come back,” he said.
About eight burglaries that have occurred in town in the last two weeks may be connected, Wilson said.
He said burglars have been going after cash and targeting smaller businesses, usually at the same time of night, seeking dark approaches, and small windows and easy doors through which to enter. They have repeatedly broken windows to businesses.
Some of the victims include Roaring Fork Anglers, Johnson Park Miniature Golf, Ocean Pearl restaurant, Chomps restaurant and Xpresso Drive Thru Cafe.
As for possible suspects, “We’re working on some information,” Wilson said.
Wilson said there also has been a lot of vandalism at city parks at night. These include someone breaking into a soda machine and taking several soft drinks and possibly money Sunday night at Sayre Park.
A man upset over not being served a drink after a wedding reception Saturday night ended up getting a slug of champagne while it was still in the bottle.
“It was a joyful event and apparently a gentleman was struck in the head with a champagne bottle,” Wilson said.
The incident occurred about 11:45 p.m. at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Wilson said the reception was over and cleanup had begun when the man reportedly wanted another beer and became agitated when he couldn’t get one. He threw a bottle, then pushed Salvador Sanchez-Gonzalez, 32, of El Jebel, who allegedly responded by hitting him twice on the head, Wilson said.
Sanchez-Gonzalez was charged with second-degree assault. The victim wasn’t charged. He received stitches to his head, Wilson said.