Violent crimes mar Glenwood’s weekend
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” In one of several violent incidents last weekend, police were forced to scuffle with employees and the owner of Mr. Amigo in West Glenwood Springs.
Police Chief Terry Wilson said that was one of the most frightening situations he’s ever seen an officer go through in the time he’s been with the police department.
An officer was by himself, at one point being attacked while a group of about 10 angry people stood by the bar yelling.
According to Wilson, an officer answered a noise complaint at the restaurant around 3 a.m. on Sunday. He could hear a live band playing in the restaurant’s outdoor patio area. He directed them to unlock the front door. While he was waiting, he heard cursing and bottles clanking around as if they were being thrown away. He was eventually let in and went to the back where the bar was. A man confronted him and eventually cursed at the officer and told him to get out of there. The officer called for backup.
Wilson said the man and a woman grabbed the officer and tried to force him out of the restaurant. The officer tried to arrest the man, who resisted, while the woman and another man interfered with him while he tried to use handcuffs.
“At this point, 10 angry people were lining the bar yelling at him,” Wilson said.
The officer told the female and the second man they were under arrest. They at one point were shoving him against the bar and the woman took a swing at the officer, Wilson said.
Two additional officers arrived at the restaurant and found the door had been deadbolted. They broke it down and entered. One of them deployed pepper spray with a “fogger” designed for crowds rather than the standard bottle of spray.
“He deployed a lot of pepper spray,” Wilson said. “That kind of cleared the room out.”
The first man, still fighting, was then handcuffed and the other two officers arrested the two others. While this was going on many of the others had disappeared into the night, Wilson said.
Police arrested Alfredo Ruiz of Tucson, 37, on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer, false imprisonment and being an accessory to a crime. They arrested Francisco Ruiz of Glenwood Springs, 34, on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer and assaulting a police officer. Both were identified as employees.
Police arrested the owner, Marizela Ruiz of Glenwood Springs, 41, for liquor code violations, a noise ordinance violation and on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer and assaulting a police officer.
Especially disturbing to Wilson was that there was a such a delay in letting the officer in. He said police are allowed to inspect any business with a liquor license. The fact that they locked the door behind the officer and fought with him was even more disturbing.
“This officer showed, in my opinion, an incredible amount of awareness and restraint in preventing the level of physical violence from escalating very fast,” Wilson said.
Police also arrested two men on one charge of felony menacing each at the Oasis restaurant in West Glenwood Springs around 1:15 a.m. Sunday. They believe Hugo Sanchez Sanchez of Glenwood Springs, 23, and Medrano Christian Gamaliel of Glenwood Springs, 23, threatened a bouncer.
According to Wilson, security guards at the restaurant said the two threatened that they would get a pistol and come back and kill the bouncer. The two men left and came back with their hands in their shirts, acting like they had guns, Wilson said.
At about 8:45 p.m. on Friday, police believe four teenagers were stabbed or cut with a knife at Sayre Park.
According to Wilson, police received a call from Valley View Hospital about a patient who had been stabbed. The victims said they were hanging out at the park on North Hyland Park Drive. They said they saw about five men who looked to be 28 to 35 years old approaching. Two had knives and began threatening them. A confrontation ensued, eventually leading to the injuries.
Wilson said three of the teenagers had more superficial wounds, while one had his spleen damaged and his diaphragm punctured by a three-inch stab wound. That person was thought to be recovering well. Wilson said police are still investigating whether or not the teenagers or anyone else knows who these people were.
During the weekend, police took about 13 felony reports – an unusually high number – in a two-shift period on Friday and Saturday.
“The scary thing is how many of these things are truly incidents involving violent actions,” Wilson said.
The “high degree” of violence is cause for significant concern for Wilson, especially with the police department short-staffed. He said the activity this weekend was “a bit of an aberration,” but that these types of crime happen more than they did 10 or 20 years ago. A little more than a month ago, another person was stabbed in downtown Glenwood Springs on Seventh Street.
“We just have to recognize that this isn’t Mayberry anymore,” he said.