Bloodbath shooting stuns neighborhood
Teresa Creech and Dolly McCune spend an hour or so each morning walking down the normally peaceful Chestnut Drive in north Grand Junction.
But for whatever reason, the two walkers opted to take a different route Saturday morning, which may have been a fortunate choice.
To the shock of neighbors in the placid neighborhood dotted with stately homes, the scene at the end of the cul-de-sac unfolded into a horrific bloodbath at 8:30 a.m. after a shooter opened fire on two couples and a neighbor who tried to come to their aid.
Two were dead late Saturday, and two others, including the alleged shooter were hospitalized. Police confirmed longtime dentist, Terry Fine, 61, and Flo Gallagher, 60, died from their injuries.
“The Fines were such good people,” said one neighbor. “That’s the shocking part of this.”
Terry Fine was a well-known Grand Junction dentist whose clients included friends in his neighborhood.
The seemingly random act of violence by a man in his late teens to early 20s with ties to Lakewood has left police frantically seeking a motive. The murders, occurring in a neighborhood where folks often wave hello to each other, left many numb as they poured out of homes and lined the street, gathering in small groups to talk about the horrible news.
“I feel so bad, they were nice people,” Creech said, stopping in the road, midway through her walk with McCune. “We have a nice neighborhood, but you don’t really know, do you?”
One neighbor who didn’t want to be identified said most residents have long lived in the neighborhood characterized by large homes surrounded by spacious yards. In the past five years, she said, only three homes have turned over owners.
“We try to be friendly,” she said. “We definitely pay attention to what’s happening.”
After hearing of Flo Gallagher’s death, a former student, Elizabeth Tice, drove to the area of the shooting.
She said she was in a state of disbelief.
Gallagher was a retired teacher who substituted at the Fruita 8/9 school this year, District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful lady,” Tice said, talking outside police tape that blocked much of the road. The Fines’ home is near the end of the road, which butts up to 40 acres of open land and a paved bike path.
“She had the best intentions for her students and the community,” Tice said.
Standing in his driveway, neighbor Fred Krehmeyer, who lives at least a quarter-mile away from the Fines, said he heard 11 gunshots, six initially in rapid succession, at 8:30 a.m. He also witnessed a jogger who was running along 26 1/2 Road duck into a neighbor’s home, apparently after being warned by Mike Gallagher, who was driving gunshot victims to the hospital.
Some neighbors said Gallagher’s silver BMW was being followed by a green SUV, matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle.
Eileen Arja said she wanted to assist her friends, the Larsons, in any way she could, because they had two small children.
Paco Larson was shot in the neck after he ran outside his home across the street from the Fines to try and help them.
“I mean, his wife coached my daughter in basketball,” Arja said. “This is just unbelievable.”
News of the shooting goes against everything Constance Holland expected, living near the quiet neighborhood for the past decade. A couple doors away from Holland’s home, in a neighbor’s side yard, the suspect rammed his vehicle into some trees after a police chase, then shot himself.
“We’re a quiet neighborhood,” she said. “You just don’t expect this to happen. You expect it in downtown.”