Bullet fired into ex-cop’s apartment

A former Grand Junction police officer was sitting at his computer in his Clifton apartment Sunday night when a bullet blew through a shared wall and whizzed about 2 feet over his head, according to an arrest affidavit.

Courtney Crooks, 24, who was fired by the department for a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, reported the 8 p.m. incident.

Crooks pleaded not guilty to the domestic violence charge and is headed to trial in February.

From Crooks’ report, a SWAT team surrounded his neighbor’s Coronado Court apartment and eventually carried out the alleged shooter, Derek Eugene Sheley, 46, who is paraplegic.

Law enforcement originally reported that Sheley was quadriplegic.

Sheley, 486 Coronado Court,  No. B, was advised in court Monday of charges of illegal discharge of a firearm, prohibited use of a weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless endangerment and barricading himself. He was handed a $5,000 bond by Mesa County Court Judge Craig Henderson.

An affidavit in the case does not include an interview with Sheley. Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said Monday that it didn’t appear Sheley intended to injure Crooks by firing toward the apartment.

After hearing the bullet tear through the wall and seeing it land on the carpet near the kitchen, Crooks left his home to call authorities because he did not feel safe in the home, the affidavit said.

Sheley in 2007 was the focus of a drug investigation, and he and his son were thought to be illegally selling guns, the affidavit said. A surveillance camera had been placed at the entrance to the apartment so he could be notified of police, the affidavit said.

No one answered the phone when a dispatcher called inside, and no one exited the apartment when police ordered the occupants out, though police outside could hear noises coming from inside the apartment, the affidavit said.

At 11:30 p.m., members of the SWAT team entered Sheley’s home and found him sitting alone with a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver that he reached for as officers broke into the home, according to the affidavit.

Sheley was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for being intoxicated, and his blood-alcohol content was recorded at 0.260 percent, which is more than three times the legal limit for driving.

Sheley was heard telling a deputy that he has a medical marijuana license that allows him to smoke marijuana on a daily basis, the affidavit said.

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies discovered 19 live rounds of .357 ammunition in the living room, a black cloth handgun holster in a backpack on the back of Sheley’s wheelchair and a plastic Ruger pistol case with an empty 9 mm magazine and a spent 9 mm cartridge in a back room.

Deputies also took a photograph from the refrigerator that showed Sheley holding a Ruger pistol to his head and a bottle of alcohol in the other hand, with his son behind him pointing a pistol into the air, the affidavit said.


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