Arrest in shooting in Fruita

Thomas Ornelas

A Montrose man was arrested Saturday in connection with a drive-by shooting early Friday at a Fruita trailer park.

Thomas Ornelas, 39, surrendered Saturday night and was booked at the Montrose County Jail on suspicion of attempted first-degree assault, criminal mischief and illegal discharge of a firearm, among other charges, for allegedly firing several shots in the direction of 825 E. Ottley Ave., space B11, just before 5 a.m. Friday. Nobody was injured.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said in a release Ornelas and a victim in the case are known to one another and an investigation continues.

“This does not appear to be a random incident,” the CBI release said.

An arrest warrant was filed under seal.

While being held on a no-bond Mesa County warrant in Montrose, Ornelas is expected to be held in Montrose for a 29-day sentence following a conviction on interference with a police officer relating to a Montrose municipal case.

Witnesses early Friday reported hearing anywhere eight or nine shots fired at the East Ottley trailer unit. A vehicle associated with the suspect was found abandoned around 5:30 a.m. in the 100 block of 28 1/2 Road.

Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo has said he asked CBI to take over the case partly because of a shortage of Fruita police officers early Friday.

The department had been down two positions from last summer, one of which was filled in December, Angelo said.

They’re still trying to fill an investigator position, he said.

“Because our current investigator has been very busy investigating more than one sex assault case and other major cases, we could not assign her lead in the case,” Angelo said. “Because we work with minimal staffing on patrol and they have also been busy with calls for service, it was difficult to come up with adequate staff to work this case within the time needed to move quickly on it. We needed (to request CBI assistance) because of the circumstances in the case and for the safety of the victim and witnesses.”


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