DA: Toy gun stunt was ‘felony stupid’
Public Defender Megan Marlatt on Friday called the act of pointing a toy gun in the face of a police officer a “Halloween prank,” but District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told a judge what happened just after midnight Thursday in downtown Grand Junction was “felony stupid.”
“I’m not sure what charges we’re going to file, but I think the facts here call for a PR (personal recognizance bond),” Hautzinger said during bond arguments in the case against 29-year-old Patricio Preciado.
County Court Judge Bruce Raaum, who praised “discretion” shown by Grand Junction police officer Cody Kennedy during Thursday’s incident, set bond at $10,000, personal recognizance, for Preciado. The bond type allowed Preciado to sign out of the Mesa County Jail on Friday.
Kennedy was walking west in the 500 block of Main Street, when he came across Preciado inside a breezeway, “pointing a gun at my face,” according to the officer’s arrest affidavit.
“Give me your money,” Preciado allegedly said.
“I stepped to my right as I drew my handgun,” the affidavit said.
“As I un-holstered, the male smiled and held the gun up with his right hand toward me saying, ‘I’m just kidding. It’s a toy gun,’ ” the affidavit said.
The officer said he stepped forward, snatched the toy gun with his left hand, then told Preciado to back up.
“Preciado continued to laugh saying he was joking,” the affidavit said. “I told him it wasn’t funny and that I had almost shot him.”
A woman wearing a “cowgirl type outfit” walked up on the situation and asked Preciado for “her gun,” the affidavit said.
Preciado said he didn’t realize Kennedy, who was dressed in regular police uniform, was a police officer.
Kennedy wrote in the affidavit that Preciado’s posture, tone of voice and toy’s appearance, had him convinced his life was in danger.
“I had every intention of defending myself with deadly force as I un-holstered my handgun, but realized in time that he was in fact holding a toy gun,” Kennedy wrote.
Preciado has four prior felony convictions, Hautzinger told the judge.
Preciado was jailed on suspicion of attempted robbery and felony menacing in connection with the Main Street incident.