Suspect turns self in over fatal Glenwood Springs shooting

John Colson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent
Christopher Mullen |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Authorities on Thursday arrested Freddy Argueta Cabrera, 39, of Carbondale, as the lead suspect in a shooting incident on Wednesday night.

Cabrera, owner of the El Horizonte restaurants in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, reportedly turned himself in to authorities in Mesa County, where he was being held on Thursday night. There was no information available late Thursday as to how Cabrera made the journey between Glenwood Springs and Mesa County.

Walt Stowe, public information officer for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in an email that the investigation into the shooting is continuing.

The incident began at about 11 p.m. Wednesday, when one man died and a woman was injured as a result of a shooting at an apartment complex south of town at 1573 County Road 154 (Old State Highway 82).

Both shooting victims were transported to Valley View Hospital, where the man was later pronounced dead. The woman was flown to Denver for emergency surgery.

Authorities have not released identifying information about the victims.

The Sheriff’s office assigned a squad of the county’s All Hazards Response Team (AHRT) members to conduct searches for Cabrera at the murder scene in South Glenwood Springs, and later at a home in Blue Lake. The manhunt included lock-down orders at two preschools in the area, while the AHRT squad approached and entered the Cabrera home at 241 Rabbit Road in Blue Lake.

As of approximately 2:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Laurie Saliday, owner of the Solara preschool in El Jebel, her school was in lock down, and she had heard that the Blue Lake Pre School also was in lock-down mode while the manhunt continued.

The scene

Thursday morning, the 11-unit apartment complex at 1573 County Road 154 (Old State Highway 82) was roped off with police tape, as sheriff’s personnel conducted an investigation at the shooting site.

A woman who was at one of the upper-tier apartments of the complex when the shootings took place told a reporter at about noon that she heard the shots clearly.

The shooting took place in an area farther downhill from the old highway than the “front” apartment building. The shooting occurred closer to the Roaring Fork River, an area of riverbottom land where there are at least two structures that are rented out.

“Gunshots is what we heard, and then we called the cops,” said the woman, who declined to give her name but said she was baby-sitting for a friend at the apartment when the shots were fired at about 11 p.m. Wednesday.

‘We knew they were coming from that way,” she added, pointing downhill toward the river from where she was sitting.

“I have two kids, and I just grabbed them and took them inside,” said the renter who lives in the apartment, and who also declined to give her name.

“We locked the door and didn’t leave the house” once police arrived, the baby-sitter continued. “It was definitely a scary scene. Everybody was pretty freaked out.”

The two women said they did not know the people living in the unit where the shootings took place, except to wave to as they passed each other in the course of a day.

The baby-sitter said she was not sure how many people were living in the apartment, but added, “I think it was all guys. Maybe a girl or two came by now and then. I’m not positive.”

Plus, she said, the residents of the lower buildings did not mix with the others living in the complex.

“We do, like, barbecues and picnics out there,” she said, pointing toward a grassy area near the building. “They weren’t anybody that came to any of that.”

Lock Down

Shortly after noon Thursday, the sheriff’s AHRT team, which is the local equivalent of an urban SWAT squad, were called in to search in the area where the shooting occurred.

As that search was under way, deputies locked down the set of apartments adjacent to the county road, preventing anyone from approaching the building.

“They’re not letting us back in,” complained an irate George Turner, who said he has lived in the complex for more than a decade and was present when the shots were fired.

Another resident of the 11-unit complex, 54-year old Karl Jones, said he was sitting outside at the time of the shooting, but did not hear the shots. He, too, did not know the people living in the unit where the shooting took place.

The manager of the complex, former Aspen developer Hans Cantrup, said he was awakened by the noise of the shooting, though he did not realize immediately that it was gunfire.

“I heard six sounds,” he recalled, “but it wasn’t that loud. I didn’t think it was gunfire, because there are sounds, sometimes late at night, people come home.”

Cantrup, 84, said the atmosphere around the complex is usually quite friendly.

The renter of the unit where the shooting occurred, Cantrup said, was Micael Martinez, who lived there with his girlfriend.

“He was a real pleasant fellow,” Cantrup recalled, adding that whenever Martinez was unable to come up with the rent Cantrup would “accommodate” the delay.

Eighteen people live at the complex now, Cantrup said.

The suspect

Cabrera has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for more than 20 years, according to the website for his restaurants.

Born in Morazan, El Salvador, the website states, “He had to run away form the civil war in his country and take refuge in the United States.”

He came to Aspen in the early 1990s, worked in restaurants for about a dozen years, and in 2004 opened his first restaurant in Carbondale.

In 2006, according to the website, he opened the second store in Glenwood Springs.