Basalt police shot at with pellet gun after responding to call
Basalt police officers returned to a Willits residence Wednesday morning to investigate what kind of “projectiles” were fired at the house and at them when they responded Tuesday night, according to Sgt. Joe Gasper.
The officers discovered that the side of a multi-unit complex had been peppered with at least 16 pellets from a pellet gun. Two additional pellets that apparently ricocheted off the structure were found on the ground. The shooter hasn’t been found.
The incident was unusual because the shooter continued firing pellets at the structure after the police officers arrived Tuesday night. Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon said an incident that might not have garnered much attention one week ago was suddenly much more concerning after national events. Five police officers in Dallas were fatally shot July 7 during a protest over police killing black men in other parts of the country.
Basalt Police Sgt. Aaron Munch said it had to be disconcerting for the Basalt officers to be the apparent target of gunfire Tuesday night, given the tensions around the country.
“That’s definitely a thought going through their minds,” Munch said.
An estimated eight to 12 shots were fired after the officers arrived at the scene Tuesday night, he said. It is impossible to know if the shooter wanted to draw officers to the site to shoot at them. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know the intent,” Munch said.
The two Basalt officers responded to a call at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday of shots fired and something repeatedly hitting the exterior of a house in the Lakeside Drive area. “The reporting party thought it was a BB gun being shot at their house,” Gasper said, reading the report from the officers who responded.
The officers searched the area but couldn’t find a shooter, Gasper said. While they were in the residence, they heard projectiles hitting the exterior of the house. When they later exited the house, they thought they were being shot at with projectiles that were hitting the house above their heads, Gasper said.
“They retreated back into the house,” he said.
The officers called for back up and were soon joined by four deputies from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, one deputy from Eagle County and three Colorado State Troopers. The ensuing search failed to turn up a suspect, but as soon as authorities started searching the Park Circle area, south of the shooting site, the shooting stopped, Munch said.
Munch said the shooter had to have been fairly close to get the pellets to penetrate the wood siding of the residence. A pellet gun is typically more powerful than a BB gun, but the range is much lower than a rifle.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Basalt Police Department at 970-927-4316.
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