Victim not involved in any crimes, sheriff says

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Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey emphasized Thursday that the man who was fatally shot in Clifton and his relatives were not involved in drugs or any other criminal activity, refuting earlier statements from witnesses.

Marco Ramon Acosta-Estrella, 50, died of multiple gunshot wounds following a shooting Tuesday night at 468 Mae St. Three other adults were shot but survived.

Their identities have not been released.

During a hastily called news conference at the Sheriff’s Department, Hilkey said local media had reported information suggesting that the victims of the shooting and the apartment itself at 468 Mae St. were involved in criminal behavior. He said, though, there’s nothing investigators have uncovered to this point to indicate that’s true.

In fact, he said, Acosta-Estrella and others at the apartment were celebrating a young relative’s birthday, and there were several children inside at the time of the shooting.

“It appears at the onset to be a respectable family,” Hilkey said.

He said no children were injured in the shooting.

The sheriff also rebutted witness statements to media that suggested a white van driving in the area around the time of the shooting could have been involved. He said the driver of the van was related to Acosta-Estrella and was not involved in the shooting.

Hilkey said investigators have no information at this point to indicate the victims and the two suspects arrested in connection with the shooting, 24-year-old Michael

James Simpson and 24-year-old Joshua Eugene Cole, knew each other.

Asked if that meant investigators believe the shooting was random, Hilkey said he was “trying not to draw connections” and that authorities still are working to determine a motive.

He said the investigation remains “very active,” and anyone with information is asked to call 970-244-3252.


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