Shooter kills well-known GJ dentist, retired teacher
3rd victim in serious condition
A Grand Junction man and woman are dead, and another woman remained in the hospital late Saturday after a man shot them outside a north Grand Junction home Saturday morning. The suspected gunman also was in the hospital Saturday night after concluding a police chase by shooting himself in the head.
Grand Junction dentist Terry Fine, 61, and retired School District 51 teacher Flo Gallagher, 60, died from injuries they sustained after being shot in the Fines’ driveway at 2631 Chestnut Drive, according to the Grand Junction Police Department.
Terry Fine and his wife, Linda, were being picked up by Flo and Mike Gallagher to go on vacation together when they were approached by a man who shot them in the driveway at 8:30 a.m., police said.
Mike Gallagher left the scene in his vehicle with some of the victims and took them to St. Mary’s Hospital, police said.
Mike Gallagher, a Mesa State College business teacher as well as Mesa State’s president from 1996 to 2003, was not injured.
Linda Fine reportedly was shot multiple times and was in serious condition Saturday night at St. Mary’s Hospital.
“They were in really bad shape,” said neighbor Harry Griff, who saw neighbor Paco Larson lying in the road and went to help him, but Larson sent him to check on the Fines.
“They were both shot in the neck,” Griff said of the Fines. “There was really nothing I could do but stabilize things.”
Griff said Larson apparently heard the gunshots, went to help the Fines and was shot by the gunman.
Larson received treatment at a hospital and was released, police said.
Griff said Larson told him he was OK and that Griff “needed to go deal with the people down the street.”
Neighbor Janet Ryan said Larson’s wife told neighbors the bullet entered her husband’s neck and lodged itself in his lower back.
While emergency personnel flooded Chestnut Drive, a Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputy spotted the suspect’s vehicle, a green sport utility vehicle, less than a mile away.
A man in his late teens or early 20s driving a green SUV was seen by a witness leaving the Fines’ home after the shooting. That person, whose identity has not been released by police, shot himself in the head after his vehicle was surrounded by police near the 26 1/2 Road bridge near Interstate 70.
Police have not released the man’s condition or whether there was a relationship with the victims.
Police said the suspect is not a Grand Junction resident, but may have ties to Lakewood. A multi-agency police operation is working with the Lakewood Police Department to determine a motive in the case.
Saturday’s murders shocked the residents of neighborhood, which they describe as quiet and tight-knit.
Griff said Paco Larson and his family had recently moved to the idyllic neighborhood where neighbors often greet each other in passing.
Griff said his family and children from Terry Fine’s first marriage go back about 25 years.
“They’re very nice people,” he said of the Fines.
Most neighbors on Saturday who spilled out of their homes while police cordoned off the area questioned whether the shooting was random or planned. Others were visibly shaken that a shooting occurred in an area popular with early-morning walkers and joggers.
“This is very unusual for Grand Junction,” Griff said. “At the end of the day, I’m just very thankful that they caught him. We’re all waiting with bated breath to find out who (the suspect) is.”