Heavily injured suspect appears in court in Rifle cop-shooting case

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A man who barely survived after allegedly shooting a Rifle officer and being shot in return made his first court appearance Tuesday, nearly two months after the incident occurred.

Though a public defender, Phillip Amonette, 53, who was in a wheelchair, waived his right to be advised of the charges against him, and didn’t immediately request any change to the $1 million bond set in the case.

Meanwhile, deputy district attorney Tony Hershey told Garfield County Court Judge Paul Metzger the two Rifle officers involved in the incident want Amonette held with no bond.

Prosecutors have filed charges including first-degree attempted murder after deliberation, use of a deadly weapon, and first-degree assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer. They also plan to add a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.

Police say Amonette shot a Rifle officer with a large-caliber revolver Oct. 22 just after the officer and a second one responded to a domestic violence call at a Whiteriver Avenue U-Haul outlet where Amonette and his girlfriend were living. Amonette allegedly held up the gun and ignored the officer’s order to drop it before shooting.

The bullet struck the upper-left chest area of the officer’s protective vest, and also apparently struck his cell phone, according to a recently released Garfield sheriff’s arrest affidavit. It also left a red welt on the chest of the officer, who was knocked to the floor.

The second responding officer fired five shots at Amonette, who was struck “a number of times,” authorities say.

The affidavit said he underwent multiple surgeries at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction after having sustained “extremely life-threatening injuries.”

Five days after the incident, Amonette was unresponsive and on life support. By Nov. 4, he was making limited body movements in response to commands, and four days after that he was accurately answering some basic questions but also thought it was October and that he was “currently in Mexico,” the affidavit said.

Amonette was released from St. Mary’s Monday and transferred to Garfield County Jail.


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