Investigators release report on fatal Montrose cop shooting
The son of a Montrose man who killed a police officer and wounded two other officers watched helplessly as his father killed himself.
Those details and other events surrounding the fatal shootout July 25 at a Montrose home are outlined in a report compiled by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and released Monday by the Montrose Police Department.
On that night, Dennis Gurney, 53, who previously expressed thoughts of suicide to a friend and was being treated by a psychiatrist for depression, barricaded himself inside the garage of his upscale home surrounding Cobble Creek Golf Course.
Before the night was over, Dennis Gurney would shoot and kill Sgt. David Kinterknecht, 41, and injure officers Rodney Ragsdale, 53, and officer Larry Witte, 24, before turning the gun on himself.
Son Kevin Gurney saw the officers down, moved one officer to safety and went to a window where he saw his father with a .22-caliber pistol in his right hand, place the gun to the right side of his head and pull the trigger.
Kevin Gurney also saw a shotgun leaning against the wall in the bathroom of the garage.
Although officers returned gunfire, Dennis Gurney was killed by the single gunshot to the head and he was not struck from bullets fired by officers’ guns, the report said.
According to the report:
Just before 8:30 p.m. two Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputies initially responded to the home at 16915 64.5 Road after receiving a domestic violence call from Pamela Gurney, Dennis’ wife. Pamela told dispatchers her husband was drunk and threatened to kill her, but she didn’t believe he had any weapons because they were locked up.
A total of eight officers responded. Montrose Police Officer Robbie Satterly and Officer Witte responded to the call. They requested assistance and additional Montrose Police officers Sgt. Kinterknecht, Sgt. Bernie Chism, Officer Ragsdale and Officer Abby Leiba responded.
Dennis Gurney refused to come out of the garage after family members talking to him via cell phone repeatedly asked him to come outside. Officers who first looked through the garage window saw Dennis Gurney talking on a cell phone, but did not see any weapons in his possession.
Pamela Gurney relayed to police officers that “if officers came in someone was going to get hurt.” Family members gave officers keys and a code to the garage, but neither worked. Less than five minutes later, Sgt. Kinterknecht gave the order to kick in the door. “Officers at the scene said there was not a formal plan of action for entering the garage.”
Dennis Gurney had crouched behind a table and trained a shotgun on officers as they broke through the doorway. Officers said they didn’t know whether Gurney or they initiated gunfire. Officers Witte and Ragsdale sustained gunshot wounds to their legs and Sgt. Kinterknecht, who was to the right of the door, was shot multiple times near his chest and left side, “consistent with entry holes with buckshot,” according to an autopsy.
Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn said neither Officer Witte nor Officer Ragsdale is back on duty, though Officer Witte is expected to return to work within about the next month.
Chinn said the report outlines what officers believed at the time of the incident, that nobody believed Dennis Gurney had access to weapons. The fatal shooting is being used as example to learn from, Chinn said, but training at the department has not been changed.
“We do a lot of training and we did a lot of training before,” he said. “I think everybody lost a friend here. We certainly miss David. I think he is in everyone’s thoughts.”