Fruita man gets 11 years for downtown drive-by shooting

Joseph Doremus

A Fruita man who admitted firing a handgun at three people over a $250 drug debt was sentenced this morning to serve 11 years in prison.

Joseph Kiley Doremus, 23, could have been sentenced anywhere from five to 16 years in prison by District Judge Valerie Robison, under the terms of a plea agreement struck with the District Attorney’s office. Prosecutors dismissed three counts of attempted murder. Doremus pleaded guilty to counts of attempted first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and a violent-crime sentence enhancer.

Doremus was arrested in late September as the suspected gunman who, while driving east on Pitkin Avenue near Third Street, fired three to four shots at three men who were inside a second vehicle. Nobody was injured and officers recovered two bullets lodged in the walls of Catholic Outreach Day Center, 302 Pitkin Ave.

An arrest affidavit said one in the men inside the vehicle that was shot at claimed he had received an ounce of medical marijuana from Doremus, but was unable to pay him the $250 he owed. Authorities determined Doremus was not a medical-marijuana caregiver.

“I don’t believe he intended to kill three people, but certainly he aimed at them,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told the judge.

Doremus apologized to Robison, his victims and the community.

“I’m ready and willing to take responsibility,” he said.


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