Five honored for response in Montrose shootings

Two Montrose County Sheriff’s Department deputies and three 911 dispatchers were honored this week for their response to the fatal shooting of a Montrose police officer last summer.

Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap awarded the medal of valor to deputies Matt Taramarcaz and Ben Halsey and gave commendations to dispatchers Trevor Blackman, Cheryl Hill and Charles Long.

The five employees were honored for the way they handled and responded to a 911 call made July 25, 2009. That was the night Montrose resident Dennis Gurney barricaded himself inside his garage in a domestic-violence incident, then shot at Montrose police officers when they entered the garage.

Sgt. David Kinterknecht was killed, and officers Larry Witte and Rodney Ragsdale were injured. Gurney then shot and killed himself.

Of the two deputies, Dunlap said, “This family, our family, is proud to say that the actions of all those who responded to this tragic incident brought credit to themselves and the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office.”

Of the three dispatchers, Dunlap said, “At times like this, we have to reach deep inside ourselves and continue to do our job in the most adverse conditions. Words can never express what these three had to endure that night, knowing that three people you know personally have just been shot.”


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