Man accused of killing roommate had explosive, cops say

Also faces charge of murder in shooting death

Wayne Gert

A Fruita man accused of fatally shooting his roommate had an unspecified explosive device and the means to detonate it, according to allegations lodged Friday.

Wayne Gert, 37, was formally charged on Friday with second-degree murder in the May 21 shooting death of his roommate, Henry Trisler Jr., 37, at Gert’s mobile home, 530 Virgo Way. Gert was charged with felony menacing and misdemeanor prohibited use of a weapon, alleging he was intoxicated when he shot Trisler.

Prosecutors also filed felony counts of possession of an explosive or incendiary device, in addition to possession of explosives parts, specifically a “timing device, clock or watch.”

The bomb allegations are not addressed in Gert’s arrest affidavit, while prosecutors and police on Friday declined further comment. An inventory of items seized under a search warrant says “miscellaneous weapons” were taken from the master bedroom and a closet in Gert’s mobile home.

The U.S. Army has confirmed that Gert received training in rockets, earning the rank of specialist working with multiple rocket-launch systems during his service between March 1992 and September 1997.

An arrest affidavit alleges that Gert, who appeared intoxicated to arresting Fruita officers, claimed he shot in self-defense after Trisler had lunged at him. Gert told officers that he, his girlfriend and Trisler were in an argument, which at some point led Gert to point a .357 revolver at Trisler.

“He came at me in a manner I thought I was going to have to defend myself and I shot him,” Gert said, according to the search warrant affidavit.

When an officer radioed for an ambulance, Gert responded that Trisler didn’t need a doctor, but instead a coroner, explaining, “I was trained to shoot to kill.”

“These statements were unsolicited,” an officer wrote in the search warrant affidavit.

Gert called 911 to report the shooting, but was unwilling to perform CPR on Trisler, saying he was “gone,” the search warrant affidavit said.

Gert’s father told officers his son was being treated for bipolar and schizophrenia through Grand Junction’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, while Gert claimed to have a medical marijuana card, the affidavit said. An officer noted removing an empty bottle of rum from the trash, in addition to unspecified drug paraphernalia and a briefcase containing prescriptions.

Gert is expected to return before District Judge Thomas Deister on June 14, when Public Defender Steve Colvin said he will argue for reduced or modified bond.

He’s jailed in lieu of a $500,000 bond.


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