Special prosecutor in councilwoman gun probe
Montrose District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller has asked counterparts in Mesa County to make a charging decision in the case of a Montrose councilwoman accused of taking of a handgun through security last month at Montrose Regional Airport, citing potential conflict.
The request for special prosecution in the case against Montrose City Councilwoman Kathy Ellis was made to “avoid the appearance of impropriety,” said Sherry McKenzie, spokesperson for Hotsenpiller’s office.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger confirmed contact with Hotsenspiller on the request, but he said no attorneys have been assigned and they have no information on the case.
Ellis’ husband is Montrose County Commissioner Gary Ellis. The board of county commissioners makes funding decisions about Hotsenpiller’s office.
Kathy Ellis, who holds a concealed-carry permit, told The Daily Sentinel she was “mortified” when she said she forgot her .25 caliber, semi-automatic handgun was still inside a handbag on Oct. 22, when she and her husband tried to pass through security to catch a flight to Las Vegas.
The couple continued on their travels after contact with the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and the issue was referred to Hotsenpiller’s office for a charging decision.
“My mistake was I forgot to take it out of my purse,” Ellis told the newspaper last month. “This is not a joking matter and I don’t take it lightly. I guess you can’t fix stupid. I don’t know how else to put it.”
Aside from possible state charges, the Transportation Security Administration has said Ellis may face civil penalties ranging between $3,000 to $7,500.