Autopsy today on man shot by police

An autopsy is expected to completed today on a man who was shot and killed Sunday by Grand Junction police after officers were called to a North Avenue motel on a report of a domestic disturbance.

A white sheet covered the body of the man, who has not been identified by authorities, in the doorway of room 18 at Timbers Motel, 1810 North Ave, on Sunday afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Kate Porras said the domestic disturbance call — involving the slain man and a woman — came in at 2:20 p.m.

Patrons and employees at a nearby bar told The Daily Sentinel they saw or heard two gunshots in rapid succession, which came after loud commands by two male officers to “drop it.”

Police Chief John Camper said the man brandished a knife at officers before he was shot.

A young boy in his teens, who was at the scene, said the man who was shot was his father. The boy was interviewed by detectives Sunday evening, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether he witnessed his father’s death, Camper said.

Authorities declined comment on a host of related questions.

Chad Geery of Grand Junction was sitting in a patio area at the rear of Wrigley Field sports bar, 1810 North Ave., when he said two officers drove up to the hotel.

The officers briefly spoke with a woman, before they walked up to Room 18, he said.

Geery said the woman climbed into the room through an open window and appeared to unlock the door, then climbed out of the room. When the door opened, a man approached the officers, who had guns drawn and were yelling at him to “drop it,” Geery said.

“He was shot right in the doorway, and didn’t move,” he said.

Robert Esquibel, who had the same vantage point, said one of the officers appeared to kick something away after the man was on the ground.

Camper said the slain man had three outstanding warrants for his arrest, all for misdemeanor contempt of court.

Police Cmdr. Greg Assen-macher said the Mesa County Critical Incident Team, which is comprised of several Grand Valley law enforcement agencies, will handle the investigation.

Mesa County Sheriff Department deputies also responded to the hotel. Porras said the Sheriff’s Department will be the lead agency handling the investigation for the Critical Incident Team. The probe will be the first for an officer-involved fatal shooting in Grand Junction in nearly four years.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger found no fault on the part of an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration who shot and killed 28-year-old Joseph Carroll on May 10, 2006, at an Orchard Mesa bowling alley.

A year after the shooting, DEA agent Troy Willardson was honored with a “top cop” award by the National Association of Police Chiefs, for his actions during the incident.


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