Police probe family killing
Grand Junction police are investigating a story told by a father who said he shot and killed his son after being attacked in bed with a coat hanger early Wednesday as his son became enraged over a picture he couldn’t find in their home.
The son’s outburst was the latest violence, directed at his parents, in a spiral of drug abuse, the father told police.
Gary Meier, the owner of the 8-acre property at 688 29 1/2 Road, told police shortly after Wednesday’s incident that 48-year-old Garth Meier burst into his bedroom “screaming and yelling” about the reportedly missing picture after Gary and his wife, Sharon, had settled down for bed.
“Gary said Sharon got up out of bed and the argument continued upstairs, downstairs and on the stairs,” reads a search warrant affidavit, filed Wednesday at the Mesa County Justice Center by police detective Julie Stogsdill.
The father said at one point, he saw his wife standing in the doorway of their bedroom, where his son had a hand around Sharon’s neck. Gary Meier said he grabbed a .25- caliber Baretta out of his night stand “and put it under the covers.”
“Gary said Garth grabbed a coat hanger off the back of the door, which is about 14 to 18 inches in length with about six to eight hooks on it, and on the end of the hooks were steel balls,” the affidavit said. “Garth took the coat hanger and hit the foot of the bed numerous times and starting working his way up the bed toward Gary. Gary said Garth struck him in the head twice with the coat hanger and Gary fired the weapon once striking Garth in the chest.”
Garth Meier’s body was found by officers in the doorway of his parents’ bedroom, the affidavit said. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office said Meier died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
“The deceased was also wearing a headlamp on his head,” the detective wrote in the affidavit.
While acknowledging a father was suspected of shooting his son early Wednesday at 688 29 1/2 Road, police spokeswoman Kate Porras declined to identify anyone involved. Porras said the father and a third person who was inside the home at the time of the shooting were questioned by detectives and released on Wednesday while the case remained under investigation.
Nobody else was being sought in the investigation, she said.
No charges had been filed, either, although Stogsdill wrote in the affidavit there was probable cause — at least as of early Wednesday — that the Meier home had evidence to support a manslaughter charge.
Officers who arrived on scene observed Gary Meier had a gash on his forehead and other lacerations. His wife phoned 911 at 12:42 a.m., reporting her husband had shot her adult son.
Garth Meier had a room in the home.
Drug paraphernalia was observed by officers, including a loaded syringe in the bedroom of Gary and Sharon Meier, the affidavit said. Gary Meier told officers he’s seen drugs and associated paraphernalia inside his son’s room.
In the parents’ bedroom, officers found a single shell casing on the floor and a small, black handgun on top of a dresser with blood on it.
“Gary Meier reported to Sgt. Baker that his son had a drug problem and has no intentions of stopping,” the affidavit said.
He told officers his son’s demeanor had become more angry and aggressive over recent months. Gary Meier added he feared for his and his wife’s safety whenever his son flew into a rage and that Garth had “worked him over” several times over recent months.
“Gary said he does not like to fight with his kids so he just defends himself,” the affidavit said.
Just three weeks ago, Meier told officers his son hit him in the mouth with a Glock .33-caliber handgun, adding he could still feel the imprint of his teeth on his upper lip.
“Gary reported that they each have a Glock .33 handgun,” the affidavit said.
Grand Junction police records suggest none of the alleged prior incidents were brought to law enforcement’s attention.
Since August 2012, police were called to 688 29 1/2 Road just once prior to Wednesday: a Nov. 10 vandalism report, which was cleared because of no suspects, according to Porras.
Garth Meier’s criminal history consists of a 1986 drunken driving conviction in Durango and a pair of traffic infractions in 1991 and 1995 in Mesa County, according to state and local court records.
His father has no criminal history in Mesa County.