Man tells cops he shot best friend

Robert Pickford hangs his head at the scene of an accidental shooting that left one man dead Thursday at a home at 2151 N. 17th Circle. Pickford has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, a class 4 felony, in the death of Micah Dancy.



Robert Pickford thought the Ruger handgun was unloaded when he picked it up, pointed it in his best friend’s direction and squeezed the trigger, he told police.

He was wrong.

The 24-year-old was attempting CPR on 26-year-old Micah Dancy, surrounded by empty alcohol containers and marijuana paraphernalia, when police arrived at 2151 N. 17th Circle on Thursday night.

Dancy was already dead, fatally wounded by a gunshot wound to the chest, according to a police report.

Pickford, who was arrested and booked into the Mesa County Jail at about 2:20 a.m. Friday, could be charged with manslaughter in the shooting.

A Grand Junction police detective wrote in an arrest affidavit that Pickford himself called 911 at about 9:26 p.m. and told dispatchers he had “shot his best friend.”

When officers arrived, they found Dancy on the couch with blood on his body and on the ground nearby. The Ruger handgun and a spent shell casing were on a coffee table nearby, with a spent round on the kitchen floor, the detective wrote.

“Marijuana paraphernalia was observed throughout the residence,” he wrote. “There were empty alcohol containers scattered in the living room.”

Officers took Pickford to the police department, where he told them he was sitting on the couch while Dancy either stood or sat nearby.

“Robert indicated he had the handgun, he believed the gun was empty and pulled the trigger,” the report said. “The handgun went off and struck Micah in the chest. Pickford indicated Micah collapsed and he called 911 and began CPR.”

Pickford told police the pair had bought beer at Andy’s Liquor, 922 N. First St., earlier that day.

Larry Cappetto, who lives next door to Pickford, said he was home but didn’t hear anything until ambulances and patrol cars were filling up his street.

“It was a little surreal last night,” Cappetto said. “I’ve been praying for the family.”

Another neighbor, who wouldn’t give her name, agreed.

“It’s so tragic,” she said. “They were friends. … I can’t imagine going through that and living with that for the rest of my life.”

Pickford appeared Friday afternoon in Mesa County Court before Judge Craig Henderson.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre asked Henderson to issue a secured bond, saying that Pickford had a prior drunk-driving conviction. She said she was concerned about alcohol and marijuana because in the earlier case, Pickford repeatedly delayed showing proof that he had completed court-mandated treatment classes.

Public Defender Kristin Westerhorstmann asked that Pickford — who remained silent throughout the hearing — be released on a personal-recognizance bond while awaiting prosecution, citing his limited criminal history. She pointed out that Pickford clearly seemed remorseful and tried to help Dancy.

Henderson said Pickford’s limited criminal history and good record of appearing for court in the past played into his decision to order a personal-recognizance bond.


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