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February 9, 2016

Your community news source since 1893

Injuries life-threatening, sheriff says

500 Fruitvale Ct.

E Rd. 494 Ol'Sun Drive D 1/2 Rd.

North Ave.

31 Rd.

Gunnison Ave. D Rd.

12:10 p.m.: Shooting suspect detained in the backyard of a home on Ol’Sun Drive.




32 Rd.

Orchard Ave.

F Rd.

31 1/2 Rd.

30 Rd.

Monday, 11:06 a.m.: Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputies called to 500 block of Fruitvale Court on a report of a man walking with a gun. A deputy responded and was shot in the area of 30 3/4 and E roads. 11:40 a.m.: Sheriff’s Office asked all residents in the area to shelter-in-place. Several area schools locked down or ordered to shelter-in-place.

70 29 Rd.

Veteran deputy shot, badly hurt

Mesa County sheriff’s deputy shot


1/2 mi.

ROBERT GARCÍA/The Daily Sentinel


A Mesa County sheriff’s deputy was shot multiple times and critically wounded Monday while investigating a report of an armed person walking down a Grand Junction street. Derek Geer, a 15-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital with “lifethreatening DEREK GEER injuries,” Shot multiple times Sheriff responding to a Matt Lewis report of a person said during a somwalking down ber news street with a gun conference Monday evening. The shooter, a 17-year-old Grand Junction boy, was taken into custody. Lewis did not identify him or indicate the charges to be filed against him. Lewis praised the 40-year-old Geer, a U.S. Navy veteran who was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 2001 and has worked in several divisions, including the Mesa County Jail and the Mesa County Justice Center. He cur-


Mesa County sheriff’s deputies, with the help of other law enforcement agencies work at a scene where a deputy was shot at the intersection of E and 30 3/4 Roads on Monday. See a photo gallery at rently works in the patrol division. Geer is married and has two children, ages 11 and 13, Lewis said. “This is a person who has dedicated his adult life to this

organization, to protecting this community and today, quite possibly, made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lewis, who alternated between the past and present tense in describing

Geer. “This person was a member of this community. He was a father. He was a husband. His kids attend school here. He was active in many different things in this community. He’s going to

Party like it’s 1999: Parade set for champs

Alanco Energy Services CEO John Carlson, center, describes the monitoring of the odor from Alanco’s Deer Creek facility that his company performed for several months beginning in July 2015. Randy Price of Mesa County Operations, who submitted a report on progress at the facility, is seated next to Carlson.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DENVER — Denver’s getting ready to party like it’s 1999. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flood a downtown park and a 1.5-milelong parade route today to celebrate the Denver Broncos’ first Super Bowl championship in 17 years. About 375,000 people attended the city’s celebration after the Broncos beat Atlanta in 1999, police said at the time. “We don’t have a hard number” for this year’s celebration, said Mike Stott, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Hancock. “We’re probably expecting hundreds of thousands.” In 1998, when the Broncos brought home the first Super Bowl trophy in franchise history, the crowd was estimated at 650,000. This year’s party starts at 10 a.m. with a concert in front of the City and County Building overlooking Civic Center park



Whitewater residents calling for end to stench from pond By GARY HARMON

Whitewater-area residents made it clear to the Mesa County Commission on Monday: They want an end to the reign of malodorous stench they say emanates from two evaporation ponds used by the drilling industry. The company that owns the two four-acre ponds at the Deer Creek wastewater treat-



ment facility near Whitewater has the odor under control, the CEO of the company that owns the facility, Alanco Energy Services, told the commission. The final word will come down with the spring thaw, county officials said. Alanco got the odors under control last July, CEO John Carlson told the commission, calling on the company’s supplier of bacterial treatment to


vouch for the success of the treatment program for Deer Creek’s evaporation ponds. Deer Creek employees have reported no illnesses from working at the site, Carlson said. There are other uses associated with foul odors, including a hog farm and sewage field, nearby, Carlson and county officials noted.

See POND, page 4A ➤

Commentary................. 6A Sports ........................ 1B Business .............. ........ 10A Comics.......................... 6B

Classifieds.................... 7B Obituaries ................... 5B

be known to many people.” The chaotic scene started in an industrial area of Fruitvale north of the Interstate 70 Business Loop late Monday morning and ended about an hour

later on the south side of I-70B in a Pear Park neighborhood within a couple miles of several elementary and middle schools.

See DEPUTY, page 5A ➤

Prison, probation for doctor guilty in pill conspiracy By CHARLES ASHBY

“It was going to be a difficult DENVER — A federal judge sentenced a former West- case because of the legal stanern Slope doctor Monday to dard that’s involved, and besix months in prison and six cause of the medical records,” Arguello said. “The months of home defact of the matter is, tention in a conspirathese patients had cy case that involved medical issues, and overprescribing medisome of them may cation and the deaths have abused their of four of the doctor’s medications, others patients. may not. The most U.S. District Judge that I could see from Christine Arguello this is that Mr. Jahani declined to fine the maybe should have doctor, Sam Jahani, SAM JAHANI paid more attention to or order him to pay restitution. She also Gets six months in what he was dispensBut I really don’t cut in half time he is to prison, six months ing. know whether a jury spend on probation. Arguello said while of home detention would have found that rose to the level of the the sentence may seem light, it really isn’t be- standard that is needed for a cause Jahani may well have criminal crime.” The case began in October been acquitted had the case gone to trial. She said there was 2009 when the Drug Enforceno direct evidence linking the ment Administration raided 53-year-old doctor to the deaths, three clinics that Jahani ran nor was there any proof that his with fellow doctor Eric Peper prescriptions weren’t medically See DOCTOR, page 4A ➤ necessary for his other patients.

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Vol. 123 No. 82

The Daily Sentinel • Tuesday, February 9, 2016


DEPUTY: 17-year-old shooting suspect arrested in backyard of home; hands bagged ➤ Continued from Page One Lewis said three deputies responded at 11:06 a.m. to a report of a man walking with a gun in the 500 block of Fruitvale Court and heading south toward E Road. The deputies encountered the teenager on the other side of the four-lane highway in the area of 30 3/4 and E roads, and Geer began talking with the teenager, who asked if he was going to be detained. When Geer told him yes, the teenager pulled away and an altercation ensued. Geer fired a Taser that struck the boy, but the boy pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at Geer, according to Lewis. Police radio traffic captured Geer reporting that he had been shot and was “bleeding heavily” from his face. A pause followed, and then the deputy said he needed an ambulance. A deputy who responded to the scene found Geer had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was not responsive. An “officer down” call came in at 11:17 a.m., Lewis said. A Clifton Fire Protection District ambulance sped toward the hospital, escorted by a Grand Junction Police Department patrol vehicle. Witnesses reported a man running east on E Road away from the shooting. At 12:04 p.m., authorities reported detaining the 17-year-old in the backyard of a home at 494 Ol’ Sun Drive. Deputies reportedly bagged the teenager’s hands in an effort to preserve evidence. Lewis said authorities recovered the handgun apparently used in the shooting early Monday evening. The shooting prompted what’s known in law enforcement circles as a “code zero” response, in which all law enforcement officers in the area


Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis speaks about the shooting of Deputy Derek Geer during a press conference at the Sheriff’s Office on Monday evening.

are asked to respond to a critical incident. Aside from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, officials with the Grand Junction Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management descended on the scene. Residents in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred were told to stay in their homes while police looked for the gunman. Several schools in the area were locked down or ordered to shelter-in-place for a couple of hours, and kindergarten at Fruitvale Elementary School was canceled for the day. Just before 5 p.m., a Grand Junction Fire Department engine passed through roadblocks, and crews sprayed blood from the south shoulder of E Road at the intersection with 30 3/4 Road. Helen Lambrecht, whose home at 498 30 3/4 Road is closest to the shooting scene, said she was working on her computer when she heard two “pops” late Monday morning. She didn’t initially pay it much mind.

“I thought it was somebody still shooting fireworks from last night,” Lambrecht said. Lisa Osborne, who lives at 3094 E Road, said her daughter reported hearing a shot. Osborne said her daughter saw someone running east on E Road. She looked back west toward 30 3/4 Road and saw a police officer on the ground, with another officer standing over him and grasping the wounded colleague’s head trying to stem blood loss. “She’s pretty shaken up,” Osborne said of her daughter. “We’re praying for him.” Elmer Goodman stood in his driveway at 497 Sheldon Road with a neighbor and his wife, Kathy, watching the police at the end of the blocked-off street. Earlier, he said he heard what he described as yelling coming from the house behind his, while he was working on the lights on his trailer in the driveway. “I heard three voices,” he said. “There was some yelling and then all of a sudden, it quit.” A police officer approached and asked if he could go through the backyard, but then was called somewhere else. “That’s the first policeman I’ve seen on my street,” he said, noting that they have lived there for 1 1/2 years and consider the neighborhood very safe. A deputy stood guarding the back patio of 494 Ol’ Sun Drive, just over the wooden fence in the Goodmans’ backyard, hours after the incident. Next door, the Goodmans’ neighbor, Dave Mullennex, said he was on his way home from the bank when he saw first responders helping someone on the ground near a vehicle on E Road and 30 3/4 Road. He returned to his house and let his


Law enforcement officers from several agencies prepare to search for a suspect Monday in the shooting of a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy at the incident command center at 31 and E roads. dogs out, and “they were barking like crazy at the fence,” he said. Shortly afterward, Mullennex said he heard voices over the back fence, yelling, and “I heard them ask, ‘What’d you do with the gun?’ ” Fellow deputies and police officers staged in the Pear Park neighborhood after the gunman was caught and quietly asked a reporter if she knew any more about the deputy’s condition, clearly saddened and concerned by the shooting. Rod, a neighbor who didn’t want to give his last name, lives two doors down on Ol’ Sun Drive from the home where the gunman was apprehended. His wife was home when a reverse 911 call came in, alerting them to the shooting and instructing them to stay inside. Rod said he was glad “he didn’t pick our house.”

“You go to work in the morning and you end up getting shot,” Rod said. “I just hope he’s OK. It’s Monday. It’s just another day, but not for that sheriff.” Law enforcement officers were on scene for several hours after the shooting Monday, blocking off E Road. A law enforcement drone circled over the neighborhood, apparently recording video of the crime scene. As officers combed the area for clues, blocked roads or spoke with the media, the thought that a fellow officer had been shot struck a serious note. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years,” sheriff’s spokesman Henry Stoffel said during a media briefing earlier in the afternoon. “You never get used to hearing that an officer has been shot.” Two deputies shared a hug

before the evening news conference, which was attended by former Sheriff Stan Hilkey, former Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess and former Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo. Other employees who attended the news conference fought back tears. The sheriff said Geer’s family told him one of Geer’s proudest moments occurred when he received a life-saving medal from the Sheriff’s Office. “I ask the community to come together,” Lewis said. “This is a time when we as a Sheriff’s Office, we come together and we support each other. This affects more than just this office. This is a community effect as well. “We’re not OK today, but we will be. And we’ll all get through this together.” Managing Editor Mike Wiggins contributed to this report.

PARADE: Procession will begin at noon near Union Station, carrying players and coaches ➤ Continued from Page One and the state Capitol. Colorado natives Big Head Todd and The Monsters, 3OH!3 and Funkiphino will play. The parade steps off at noon

near Union Station, with firetrucks carrying players, coaches and general manager John Elway, who was quarterback the last time the Broncos won. Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Denver mayor will also be

in the parade, which is expected to take an hour to arrive to the rally. Police spokesman Doug Schepman wouldn’t discuss the security specifics but said plenty of officers will be present. He said

the city is in regular contact with state and federal law enforcement officials, but he wouldn’t discuss any conversations they have had about today’s events. Alcohol and — this being Colorado — marijuana will be

banned. Fans began celebrating Sunday night as the clock ticked down on the Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. Scores of fans took to the streets in central Denver in a mostly

peaceful but boisterous celebration. The crowd became unruly at times, but officers for the most part watched from the sidewalk. Police reported a handful of arrests.






Your community news source since 1893

February 10, 2016

Family says goodbye to Derek, fallen deputy


Officer, 40, took pride in serving community


Derek Geer was doing what he loved, being a law enforcement officer patrolling the streets, when he was shot Monday morning. While the 40-year-old Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputy was in the “final hours of his life” on life support Tuesday, he was in a sense still giving back to his community, kept alive so that his organs could be harvested and donated to potentially save other lives. Geer — who was responding to a call when he was shot multiple times in Pear Park by a yet to be identified 17-year-old young man — is married with two children, ages 11 and 13. “Our hearts are broken, as we begin the process of grieving the tremendous loss of Derek, our DEREK GEER husband, father, Married father son and friend,” of two was shot according to a post from his wife, Kate responding to an Geer. emergency call “The love and support that has been poured out to our family over the last 24 hours is humbling; the gratitude for Derek’s sacrifice and the compassion from this community is a reminder of the good in this world.” “As a family, we need to wrap our arms around one another and try to find ways to begin to heal,” Kate continued. “We thank you in advance for allowing us privacy while we grieve.” Geer had worked his way up through the ranks for years, working in the Sheriff’s Office’s civil department, providing security detail at the Mesa County Justice Center and most recently, working on patrol. “I think his dream was to be a law enforcement officer and serve the community, and he lived it,” said Sue Hicks, a former investigator with the Sheriff’s Office. “He was a kind, wonderful young man who cared deeply about kids and family and doing a good job. He’s going to be sorely missed.” Hicks said she was touched when Geer learned his adopted daughter’s native language to try to make the transition easier for her. He also was a pivotal force in helping the Sheriff’s Office update its sex offender tracking system about a decade ago, she said.

See DEPUTY, page 6A ➤


The Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that a GoFundMe account has been established for the family, at, and the Derek Geer Memorial Fund has been set up at Alpine Bank.

WPX sells Piceance oil fields for $910M WPX Energy is cashing in on its sprawling Piceance Basin natural gas operation for $910 million. The Tulsa-based company said Tuesday it has sold its Piceance subsidiary, WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, LLC, to Terra Energy Partners LLC. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. Under the deal, the privately held, Houston-based Terra will become the largest natural gas producer in the Piceance in western Colorado. The assets it is buying have had net recent production of about 500 million cubic feet per day, and they include about 2 trillion cubic feet of proved, developed and producing reserves, according to a news release from Terra. "We are excited to announce our first acquisition since forming Terra last summer. The Piceance Basin is an area that we know well and one that we believe offers considerable upside potential through focused management," Michael S. Land, chief executive officer of Terra, said in a news release. Land is the former president of the Permian and Mid-Continent business units of Occidental Petroleum Corp. Oxy’s Mid-Continent unit includes holdings in the Piceance Basin, although Oxy is selling Piceance holdings to Piceance Energy. Terra says it is “focused on the acquisition and development of large, long-lived producing oil and gas assets in North America.” Terra Energy got an initial financial jumpstart last year with a $300 million equity commitment from the Kayne Private Energy Income Fund, L.P. As part of the WPX purchase, Terra’s total equity commitment has grown to $800 million, split equally between Kayne and Warburg Pincus LLC, a global private equity firm that previously has invested in Antero Resources and Bill Barrett Corp., two past Piceance Basin operators. WPX operates more than 4,700 wells in the Piceance, and has oil and gas rights covering about 200,000 acres locally. The sale includes about 150,000 acres worth of deep-formation rights in the Mancos/Niobrara shale, in which WPX and other companies have shown early success in developing gas reserves. WPX said it made formal presentations to more than 20 prospective buyers for its Piceance holdings. WPX has about 215 employees in its Parachute office. WPX’s chief executive officer, Rick Muncrief, said in a message to WPX employees that for workers directly

WPX operates more than 4,700 wells in the Piceance Basin, and has oil and gas rights covering about 200,000 locally.


Mesa County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Beagley, left, and a fellow deputy visit the site where Deputy Derek Geer was shot on Monday along E Road to place a bouquet of flowers.

Many honor lawman’s sacrifice INCIDENT INVESTIGATION


On a patch of grass at the corner of E Road and 30 3/4 Road, there is a growing pile of flowers and mementos to honor Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Derek Geer, who was shot in the line of duty on Monday. On Tuesday, the dispatcher who took the call on Geer’s shooting laid flowers at the place where he was shot. “He’s an amazing deputy and he was all of our friend,” the dispatcher said. “It’s senseless. He was a great man.” Brian Mellon, who attends the same church as the Geer family, Canyon View Vineyard, placed a small plaque at the memorial: “In memory of a life well lived.”

The Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, or CIRT, has been activated to investigate the Geer shooting. The team is an investigative body made up of representatives from local law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, and other criminal justice partners. A witness tip line has been set up, and the CIRT team is asking anyone with any information about the case to call 244-3526 and leave your name and number. “We’re deeply saddened,” Mellon said. “Every officer’s life matters. Ev-

erybody is human. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from, we’re all human.” Mellon said Geer’s legacy will continue through his choice to donate his organs. “Even when he’s not on this Earth, he’ll still be protecting lives,” he said. A woman who said she knew the Geer family choked up while laying a bouquet to the growing memorial on Tuesday. “It’s a terrible thing that never should have happened,” she said. “He was doing his job. It could have been prevented and … it’s just devastating.” There is a page set up for the Geer family if people are interested in cooking healthy dinners for the family.

See WPX, page 6A ➤

Trump and Sanders win big in N.H., riding wave of voter frustration By JULIE PACE Associated Press

]MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders rode a wave of voter frustration with American politics to commanding victories in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries, adding crucial credibility to their up- HOME PAGE OF WESTERN COLORADO

start candidacies. Sanders swept majorities of men, women, independents and young people in his win over Hillary Clinton, but faces challenges in the more diverse states that come next on the primary calendar. Trump, appealing to voters seeking a political outsider, he could benefit from


the persistent lack of clarity among the more mainstream Republicans struggling to challenge him. “We are going to do something so good and so fast and so strong and the world is going to respect us again, believe me,” Trump said at a victory rally. Ohio Gov. John Kasich



Business..................... 7A Comics ...................... 6B

grabbed second in New Hampshire after pouring nearly all of his campaign resources into the state. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio vied for third along with Ted Cruz, the Iowa caucus winner, ensuring all would press on to the next voting contest in South Carolina. Sanders, at his own raucous

Food .......................... 8A Horoscopes .............. 7B

Sports ...................... 1B Obituaries ................ 7B

rally, said his victory sent a message “that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California. And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs.”

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The enthusiasm behind Trump, a real estate mogul who has never held political office, and Vermont Sen. Sanders, who says he is a democratic socialist, underscores the public’s anger with the current political and economic system. Even

Vol. 123 No. 83

See VOTER, page 6A ➤


The Daily Sentinel • Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fallen lawmen of Western Slope By GARY HARMON

Mesa County Deputy Sheriff Derek Geer, still on life support on Tuesday, would be the department’s second deputy to die in the line of duty, and the third law-enforcement officer to succumb to injuries inflicted while on the job. The only other Mesa County deputy to die in the line of duty was jailer Edward Innes, the son of EDWARD INNES William Innes, the Died in 1906 after first elected he was attacked by Mesa County sheriff. an inmate Edward Innes, 28, was struck from behind by an inmate, George McGarvey, on Sept. 26, 1906, in an escape attempt. Innes died the next day and McGarvey was captured by a De Beque rancher on Sept. 30. McGarvey was tried on Oct.

3, found guilty on Oct. 4, and hanged on Oct. 5. The Denver Post story about the execution was headlined “M’Garvey Jerked Into Eternity.” A third officer, acting Fruita Police Chief Daniel Dalley, died in June 1, 2001, while riding on his police motorcycle, which collided with a vehicle that turned left in front of him. Dalley died four days after DAN DALLEY the June 1 incident. Died in 2001 when Dalley he was the acting had been chief of Fruita driving to a hospital, police where his son was being treated. His son recovered. One Mesa County deputy, Refugio “Junior” Rosales, suffered a gunshot wound on Aug. 19, 1994. He recovered from the wound well enough to rejoin the force and in 2014 was pre-

sented with the department’s Medal of Merit and Purple Heart for his actions in subduing a suspect despite having suffered a broken kneecap. One other law enforcement officer lost his life in the line of duty in what is now Mesa County. Gunnison County Deputy Ben Scott drowned in the Colorado River near what is now known as the Riverside area on April 1, 1882. Scott and others were pursuing a gang of cattle rustlers generally known as the Doc Bangs Gang. Scott was in an overloaded skiff crossing the river when it swamped. He and another man died. While a recounting of the incident doesn’t include his job title, other documents at the Museum of the West refer to Scott as a deputy. Gunnison County was split into the existing counties of Delta, Gunnison, Mesa and Montrose in 1883 and no agency appears to claim Scott as one of their own on the Officer Down Memorial Page, www.odmp. org.

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DEPUTY: Pleasant, yet ever mindful of safety ➤ Continued from Page One “He was a wonderful friend and father and person in our community,” Hicks said. “He wanted to help and be active.” Randy Godsey, a retired Colorado State Patrol trooper who worked for about five years in security at the Mesa County Justice Center alongside Geer, said the fallen deputy was always alert and helpful. He had a mind for safety, even though people entering the courthouse usually aren’t pleased to be there, answering to charges or checking in on their loved ones’ court cases, he said. “He had a propensity for safety,” Godsey said of Geer. Geer is being remembered as being pleasant to those entering the courthouse, though deputies often found guns, knives and drugs in people’s possessions through the scanner system, Godsey said. Godsey said Geer liked to perform transfers of inmates and help out where he could at the courthouse, but he was intent on making it onto the patrol division. “He is a nice guy, almost too

nice to be a cop,” Godsey said. “He always wanted to help people. He had a heart as good as gold. He never wanted to hurt anybody.” Mesa County District Attorney’s senior trial deputy Jason Conley said Geer was not someone you’d forget. “He always had a smile on his face,” Conley said. “He was a welcome presence, especially in the courthouse.” Geer had said one of the things he was most proud of was earning a Lifesaving Award from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Matt Lewis said. Geer, who was a former CPR instructor, was the first to arrive on the scene April 1, 2012, when a woman was unconscious and not breathing while in cardiac arrest. Geer performed CPR for minutes before paramedics arrived and took over, according to his award’s summary. “Deputy Geer’s swift and effective administration of CPR upon the patient is credited with increasing her likelihood of survival and preventing her from going into full cardiac arrest. The patient fully recovered from the episode and later of-

fered her thanks to Deputy Geer from “the bottom of her heart,” the award said. A funeral, date to be determined, for Mesa County Deputy Sheriff Derek Geer will bring officers from around the nation to pay respects, Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis said. Commissioners were briefed Tuesday on Geer’s condition, and related issues. “There will be officers from New York to California” gathering in Mesa County for the funeral,” McInnis said. The attention from afar has been “something to behold and very respectful,” he said. McInnis is a former Glenwood Springs police officer and investigator with the district attorney’s office in Garfield County. Flags at Mesa County offices were lowered to half-staff on Tuesday and county employees were informed of the incident and Geer’s condition by an allstaff email, County Administrator Frank Whidden said. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is immediately honoring Geer with officers shrouding their badges.

WPX: Employment will shrink with oil market ➤ Continued from Page One tied to the Piceance asset, “there will be a process to interview with the new owners. “Terra Energy Partners is a relatively new, private equitybacked company that does not have the existing organization to work this asset and, therefore, it will need additional employees. We will provide detail about this process along with transition services as more information is known.” Muncrief warned of layoffs that also will occur in the downsized WPX. “With commodity prices at levels not seen in more than a decade and a current and future gas market that appears challenged, we must make further changes to live within our means. We will have to reduce our overall headcount in a postPiceance environment. Piceance is an amazing asset, but has required a significant amount of support both in Colorado as well as in Tulsa,” he said. WPX already downsized its Denver office last year through layoffs and transfers of positions to Tulsa. Muncrief said, “As for our Piceance employees, I have to take a moment to thank you for the tremendous energy and dedication you’ve given to this company over the years. You have been a flagship asset, and you’ve helped to keep this company moving forward when so many other basins were in distress.” The Piceance long has been a core asset for WPX, but like other companies it began to shift from gas to oil holdings due to

local natural gas prices. But energy companies have been further squeezed by the subsequent drop in oil prices. WPX plans to use the sale proceeds for purposes ranging from paying down debt from acquisitions of oil fields to investing in additional drilling and associated infrastructure. Terra Energy is buying an asset with roots dating back decades. Barrett Resources helped pioneer gas development in the Piceance Basin through hydraulic fracturing before being bought by Williams, which later spun off its oil and gas exploration and development business into a new company, WPX. The sale is just the latest in recent years involving Piceance Basin holdings after natural gas prices began dropping starting in 2008. The price decline and other factors prompted some companies to exit the basin to chase oil and gas projects elsewhere, and let others obtain local operations at discount prices. Other deals include Ursa Resources’ acquisition of Antero Resources’ local assets, Caerus Oil and Gas acquiring the local holdings of PDC Energy and Noble Energy, Bill Barrett Corp.’s sale of its assets south of Silt to Vanguard Natural Resources, and most recently Piceance Energy’s deal with Oxy. “I expect we’ll probably see some more of this kind of stuff taking place,” Parachute Mayor Roy McClung said. But he added, “I don’t know that any of that stuff is going to change what’s taking place (locally). The names will be different on the companies but I

think the (local) personnel will stay the same.” He said WPX has been pretty good to work with, including when it drilled within town limits. “We have had a good relationship with all of the folks that worked with them. I don’t expect that to change any” with the sale, McClung said. Howie Orona is a Parachutearea citizen representative on, and the former chairman of, the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board, which works to resolve issues that come up related to gas development in the county. He said he’s dealt with WPX quite a bit over the years. “I’m not happy to see them leaving because it’s taken all these years to work up a real good relationship with them,” he said.He said when a new company comes in, it can be like starting all over again when it comes to building relationships involving landowners, businesses and communities. “You’ve just got to wait and see how these things turn out when these new companies come in here. It’s no different than when Antero sold out. It’s a new company coming in; a lot of times it’s starting at square one,” he said. WPX spokesman Kelly Swan said, “We truly appreciate the special relationship we have enjoyed with our stakeholders on the Western Slope. We're grateful for the broad support of the business community and how residents, landowners, chambers of commerce and other groups rally to support industry, jobs and the benefits of natural gas development.”

her pledges. “People have every right to be angry. But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions,” she said after congratulating Sanders on his win. New Hampshire did little to clarify the crowded contest among more mainstream GOP candidates fighting to emerge as a challenger to Trump and Texas Sen. Cruz. Florida Sen. Rubio, former Florida Gov. Bush and Cruz battled for third behind Kasich. Throughout the heated pri-

mary campaign, Kasich has prided himself on not attacking his rivals. A more moderate Republican from a politically important state, Kasich told supporters Tuesday night that his second-place finish could be an indication that “we’re turning the page on a dark part of American politics.” The day was a blow for Rubio, who had appeared to be breaking away from the second-tier Republican pack after a strong showing in Iowa.

VOTER Kasich separates from pack, places 2nd



A portrait of Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer along with a description of his lifesaving award sits on a table in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. Geer was shot multiple times Monday as he attempted to detain an armed 17-year-old boy along E Road.

➤ Continued from Page One




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if neither candidate ultimately becomes his party’s nominee, whoever wins that nomination will have to reckon with the voter frustration they’ve tapped into. Clinton appeared to recognize that reality in her concession speech, echoing Sanders’ calls for taking on Wall Street banks and tackling income inequality. But she cast herself as more prepared to make good on





February 11, 2016

Your community news source since 1893

Teen suspect held without bail He placed ad for gun 4 days before lethal encounter with deputy By GARY HARMON


Prosecutors are to charge a 17-year-old runaway as an adult in connection with the shooting of Mesa County sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer. Austin Patrick Holzer, meanwhile, is to remain in custody without bond, Mesa County Magistrate Will McNulty said during a half-hour hearing Wednesday. McNulty rejected Holzer’s public defenders’ contention that the bond hearing should be closed because of the minimal interest to the public in that aspect of the case. It would be “extremely beneficial” for the public to know “whether this juvenile was at large with a gun,” Deputy District Attorney Mark Hand told McNulty in recounting several aspects of Holzer’s behavior in recent months. Hand asked that Holzer be held without bond and said the district attorney’s office expected to file murder charges

The Grand Junction teenager awaiting adult murder charges in connection with the shooting of Mesa County sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer was apparently trying to get his hands on a handgun four days before the shooting. Austin Patrick Holzer, 17, attempted to swap goods, including bullets for a rifle, to trade up for a handgun, according to the “Western slope guns” community Facebook page. “I have items like a flat screen tv, a pair of new Bushnell insta focus 10x30x50 binoculars and a full box of 270 win 150 grain power point bullets pm me!!” Holzer’s Feb. 4 post states. The teenager allegedly shot Geer Monday during a confrontation in a Pear Park neighborhood. Holzer contacted a onetime friend recently to see if he could get some ammunition frequently used in varmint and big-game hunting with a long rifle. Holzer contacted school friend Talon Barrier on social media about wanting a box of 270 winMag, also known as 270 WSM, cartridges, Barrier said Wednesday. “I did not respond,” Barrier said. “I was kind of surprised. I hadn’t really talked to him, so I was kind of surprised that he was asking.” Holzer had “a pretty weird personality” and was “kind of smart,” said Barrier, who has posted a photo in honor of Geer on his own Facebook page.

See SUSPECT, page 6A ➤


See GUN, page 6A ➤

Austin Holzer is shown in a photo he posted to Facebook on Feb. 7, one day before authorities say he shot Deputy Derek Geer in Pear Park.


The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said services for Deputy Derek Geer will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24½ Road. Interment will follow at the Orchard Mesa Municipal Cemetery, 2620 Legacy Way. More details about the service will be released soon, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Shooting happened within minutes of contact By ERIN McINTYRE

Less than three minutes after Mesa County sheriff’s deputy Derek Geer reported to emergency dispatchers that he would

be approaching a male suspect who reportedly had a gun, one of his colleagues called for help. The dispatch recordings from the morning when Geer was shot — allegedly by 17-yearold Austin Holzer — reveal an

intense, fast-moving series of events compressed into a short period of time. The response to the shooting involved every law enforcement agency in the area, according to Mesa County sheriff’s Sgt. Henry Stoffel.

The initial report of a weapons violation is aired at 11:08 a.m., from a caller at 508 Fruitvale Court, an address that is occupied by STRIVE, a nonprofit organization that helps clients with developmental disabilities.

The building is used for occupational and physical therapies for STRIVE clients, said Doug Sorter, the organization’s vice president of development.

See CONTACT, page 6A ➤

TIMELINE OF EVENTS IN SHOOTING OF DEPUTY DEREK GEER 11:08 A.M. Weapons violation reported by caller at 508 Fruitvale Court. The reporting party describes the subject as a male wearing blue jeans, a red and gray plaid jacket, a hoodie and a black bandana.

11:13 A.M. Deputy Derek Geer says he will be interacting with a male at the intersection of E and 30 ¾ roads.

11:14 A.M. A “code 1” is aired, with audible yelling in the background. A code 1, also called a code zero, is the highest-priority call, alerting all law enforcement that an officer is down and they should limit radio traffic, according to Mesa County sheriff's Sgt. Henry Stoffel.

11:16 A.M. A sheriff's deputy says he has an officer down. “I have a wound to the face, bleeding heavily,” he reports.

11:16 A.M. The same deputy requests an ambulance and a Clifton Fire Protection District ambulance is dispatched.

11:18 A.M. The same deputy reports to dispatch that Geer doesn't have a pulse.

11:19 A.M. A report that a witness saw the shooter go south on Ol' Sun Drive is aired.

11:40 A.M. A sheriff's deputy reports the ambulance will be leaving, taking Geer to the hospital.

11:55 A.M. Law enforcement asks for a reverse-911 call to alert area residents to shelter in place.

5 P.M. The gun is recovered around this time in the 400 block of Ol’ Sun Drive, according to Stoffel.

ERIN McINTYRE and ROBERT McLEAN/The Daily Sentinel

BLM planning to cancel Delay in clean-power plan draws praise Thompson Divide leases By DENNIS WEBB


The Bureau of Land Management plans to carry forward a draft proposal to cancel oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area of the White River National Forest. The agency revealed Tuesday that the preliminary preferred alternative it will include in a final environmental impact statement would cancel in full 25 leases in the Thompson Divide


Glenwood Springs



Thompson Divide area

82 Redstone

Grand Junction Delta 15 miles

70 Carbondale


New Mancos shale well


ROBERT GARCÍA/The Daily Sentinel



A Supreme Court decision halting implementation of President Obama’s clean power plan is winning praise from a leading Colorado utility along with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Meanwhile, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that while the plan is litigated, the department will continue to work with stakeholders on developing a state plan to implement the federal rule should it


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be upheld in court. The high court on Monday ruled 5-4 to issue a stay on the Environmental Protection Agency proceeding with its plan until legal challenges are resolved. The Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the matter in June. “This is a tremendous victory for our members who rely on fossil fuel generation as a source of affordable and reliable power, the employees who work at our plants and coal mines, and the communities where our operations are

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located,” Mike McInnes, chief executive officer of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., said in a news release. Tri-State runs a power plant near Craig that is supplied by two nearby coal mines, Colowyo and Trapper. The mines and plant are responsible for hundreds of high-paying jobs in that area, and could be impacted by the plan, which seeks to reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by about a third. Tri-State was among numerous entities to challenge the plan in court. Coffman also has

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joined in legally challenging it, even as Gov. John Hickenlooper has supported it. “Over and over again, the current federal administration — and particularly the EPA — has been ignoring state sovereignty and the rule of law,” Coffman said in a statement. “As the independently elected legal voice for the state of Colorado, I have been pushing back.” Said Hickenlooper, “While we’re still reviewing the implications of the Supreme Court's decision, we remain committed

Vol. 123 No. 84

See POWER, page 7A ➤


The Daily Sentinel • Thursday, February 11, 2016

Benefits for Geer family planned By MELINDA MAWDSLEY

Efforts are underway to stage a large benefit concert and community raffle to benefit the family of Derek Geer, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputy shot Monday. Local musician James Williams said plans for the event got started Wednesday afternoon but already he has secured interest from his band, The Williams Brothers Band, as well as Shea Michael Bramer, Zac Grant of Zolopht, and Remember When. The benefit will be 7 p.m. Sat-

urday, Feb. 20, at Mesa Theater, 538 Main St. A $10 donation is suggested at the door. In addition to an evening of music, Williams is looking for local businesses to donate items big or small to be raffled with all proceeds going to Deputy Geer’s wife and two children. Any local musicians or local businesses interested in taking part in the benefit, can contact Williams via the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook. com/events/948103545227124/ or at Rhema Music & Clothing Co., at 858-7675. More information about the benefit will appear in Feb. 19’s

Out & About as Williams works during the next week to secure musicians and raffle items. “The ultimate sacrifice was made,” Williams said. “We owe, at the very least, some support, to show some solidarity” and get behind the Geer family “in this moment.” In addition, a GoFundMe campaign was established Tuesday at to also raise money for the Geer family. By Wednesday afternoon, nearly $30,000 had been raised. The Derek Geer Memorial Fund also has been set up at Alpine Bank.

CONTACT: Call came from STRIVE employee ➤ Continued from Page One An employee of STRIVE called 911, Sorter confirmed. “He was outside in the parking lot, walking south toward the business loop,” Sorter said. “He was just walking by and he saw the gun under (the suspect’s) arm and said we need to call 911.” STRIVE locked down the building to protect clients, who Sorter described as “a real fragile population.” “We have maybe 40 people in the building at a time and we were lucky enough to do the shelter-in-place and get things locked down,” he said. The STRIVE employee who called 911 reported to dispatch that he “did hear two pops as he was walking across the road ... sounded louder than an airsoft rifle,” and provided the physical

description of a man wearing jeans, red and gray plaid jacket, a hoodie and a black bandana, according to dispatch recordings archived on Five minutes after the information aired, Geer advises dispatch that he will be interacting with the suspect at the intersection of E and 30¾ roads. One minute after he makes that announcement, a voice saying “code 1” with audible yelling in the background goes over the air. A code 1, also called a code zero, is the highest-priority call, alerting all law enforcement that an officer is down and they should limit radio traffic, according to Stoffel. Less than three minutes later, another deputy says, “I have an officer down. I have a head wound to the face, bleeding heavily.” Shortly after that, they call

for an ambulance and law enforcement officers transition to looking for the suspect while attempting to get medical attention for Geer. A little more than two minutes after the “officer down” announcement, a Colorado State Patrol trooper says, “Advise the squad, I don’t have a pulse.” Less than an hour after the initial 911 call, law enforcement had Holzer in custody. Sorter said STRIVE is glad their employee initiated the report, though it ended in tragedy. “He truly probably did the greater good in retrospect in making that call and initiating that activity,” Sorter said. “We’re very thankful that he was willing to make that phone call. Some people could have just said, ‘Eh, I didn’t see anything,’ and called it good. Who knows what would have occurred?”

GUN: Wasn’t enrolled in a District 51 school ➤ Continued from Page One One reason Barrier was surprised that Holzer would want ammunition was that Barrier was unaware Holzer had any interest in firearms. “He didn’t seem to know what the hell he was doing with guns,” Barrier said. According to one of Holzer’s Facebook pages, he had gone to Bookcliff Middle School and

Central High School. District 51 spokeswoman Emily Shockley said Holzer was not currently enrolled in any District 51 schools. One of Holzer’s Facebook pages, labeled ET Went Home, was taken down after his last post Sunday morning, in which he updated his profile picture. Holzer’s post on the Western slope guns Facebook page also has been taken down. Holzer’s background picture

shows what looks like a napkin drawing of a figurine with a marijuana leaf behind its head and the label, Stoney McMellowman. Holzer’s profile photo shows him standing in a black T-shirt with a white Rosary around his neck. He lists himself as a team member at Burger King. ■

Staff writer Paul Shockley contributed to this report.






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A post to the community Facebook page “Western slope guns” came from an account linked to Austin Holzer, accused in the shooting of a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy. In the post, dated Thursday, Feb. 4, the poster seeks to trade some items for a gun. Geer was shot four days later.

SUSPECT: Violated probation in sex assault case ➤ Continued from Page One


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against Holzer as an adult upon Geer’s death. Geer was being kept on life support Wednesday so that his organs could be donated. Despite his status, the Sheriff’s Office moved forward with funeral arrangements and said a service for Geer will happen on Monday. Holzer, who is two months short of his 18th birthday, has been living on the streets for the last several months, trying to stay one step ahead of the law to avoid being arrested in connection with violating his probation in a sexual-assault case, Hand said. A warrant for his arrest for a probation violation was issued in October. Holzer received a deferred sentence and adjudication in Jefferson County and the case was transferred to Mesa County when Holzer moved, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said. Holzer, who was shackled and wore a maroon Grand Mesa Youth Services Center pullover, was a regular user of methamphetamine who supported himself by breaking into vehicles

and stealing guns, which he sold for food and drugs, Hand said, citing Holzer’s comments to officials at the youth-detention center. Prosecutors ought not have had that kind of information, Holzer’s public defenders said, citing his Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. In juvenile cases, parents are regularly included as respondents, and Chris Holzer identified himself to McNulty as Austin Holzer’s father. Chris Holzer had been trying for months to contact his son, Hand said, but the younger Holzer dodged both his family and law enforcement. Austin Holzer also blocked his father from his Facebook account, Hand said. Austin Holzer showed no sign of recognition of his family and sat silently in court, bookended by public defenders Steve Colvin and Kara Smith. Eight people sat with Chris Holzer in the courtroom and one of them, a woman, later commented aloud in the hallway that family members “tried for years,” and “... nothing that anybody ...” before trailing off while

getting on an elevator. Chris Holzer “had no control over his son,” Hand told McNulty. Austin Holzer didn’t qualify for the services of the public defender as a juvenile and his family could be billed in connection with that case, his attorneys said. Holzer had fired the gun, which had been defaced, several times “within minutes” of his confrontation with Geer, Hand said. McNulty denied bond, finding that Austin Holzer posed a danger to the public and to himself. Geer’s wife and parents were among 16 people who attended the hearing and entered and left the courtroom through a door usually reserved for staff and law enforcement. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before McNulty on the juvenile equivalent of attempted second-degree murder and prohibited possession of a handgun by a previous offender against Holzer. Prosecutors, however, expect to complete preparation of adult charges before the Tuesday hearing, Rubinstein said.



February 12, 2016

Your community news source since 1893


Community support for public safety officers ‘overwhelming’ By AMY HAMILTON

In an abundance of ways, Grand Valley residents paid their respects Thursday to fallen Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer, after the 40-year-old was taken off life support late Wednesday night. Geer was shot late Monday morning, but he was kept alive on life support so his organs could be donated. “It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of Deputy Derek Geer,” said a message from Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis. “Deputy Geer has been removed from life support after completing a last selfless act of organ donation.” In the days since Geer was gunned down in the area of E and 30 3/4 roads, an “overwhelming” community effort has surfaced in support of Geer’s family, and public safety officers in general, said Shawn Montgomery, a firefighter and spokesman with the Grand Junction Fire Department. Montgomery said he usually receives words of gratitude for his service when he’s dressed in uniform in public, but the outpouring of support in the wake of Geer’s death “is to the millionth degree.” “We’re the ones supposed to be there to support our citizens, but I feel like citizens are there to support us,” Montgomery said. “I don’t anticipate it lightening up anytime soon.” Support coming in to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has included donations of meals, money, plans for fundraising events for the Geer family, and symbols of support, such as blue ribbons tied to trees and blue lines attached on the backs of vehicles to support police officers. Montgomery said he and employees from other agencies have been spending days at the Sheriff’s Office trying to organize and facilitate the various donations and handle a crush of inquiries from the public. Montgomery said the Sheriff’s Office has developed a team of employees who are tasked with supporting and “creating a big buffer” around Geer’s family, his wife, Kate, and two children, ages 11 and 13. As a motorcade accompanied Geer’s remains from St.

It’s a small red heart in the corner of a driver’s license. It’s one more box to check on a stack of papers at the Department of Motor Vehicles. For many, thinking about organ donation is a passing HOME PAGE OF WESTERN COLORADO

DENVER — A Palisade inventor and wannabe entrepreneur may have just solved the plastic bottle pollution problem. Tim Huff, who describes himself as the owner/janitor of a new startup company called Colorado Clear, is hoping to open a manufacturing plant in the Grand Valley to produce a line of containers that not only are recyclable, but also biodegradable. While he’s gotten some help from The Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, not to mention tapping out family and friends, Huff got a big boost for his would-be business from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade on Thursday. The office’s Economic Development Commission approved his startup along with two other companies that want to locate in the Grand Valley under the newly formed Rural Jump-start Program. “We see so many applications (for the containers),” Huff told the commission. “We’re getting international companies coming recognizing my technology on medical, food grade and everything else we can do with this technology. The other main key is, it’s not just biodegradable, it’s recyclable. Plant-based biodegradation technology, for

49 inmates dead in riot at prison in Mexico By PORFIRIO IBARRA and MARK STEVENSON Associated Press

had a tissue donor who was 105 years old. There is no age restriction to saving and healing lives.” Donate Life is the nonprofit organization that works to figure out if someone is eligible for donation.

MONTERREY, Mexico — A brawl between rival drug gangs at an overcrowded penitentiary in northern Mexico turned into a riot Thursday, leaving 49 inmates dead and 12 injured in the country’s deadliest prison melee in years. No escapes were reported in the clash at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, said Nuevo Leon state Gov. Jaime Rodriguez. The riot took place on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in Mexico, a visit that is scheduled to include a trip next week to another prison in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. Rodriguez said in the morning that 52 had died, but he lowered that by three in the late afternoon. The reason for the changed death toll was not clear. At a news conference the governor read a list of 40 names of confirmed victims, saying five of the remaining bodies had been charred by fire and four were yet to be positively identified. One of the injured was in grave condition. The fighting began around midnight with prisoners setting fire to a storage area, sending

See DONOR, page 8A ➤

See RIOT, page 8A ➤


One organ donor can save up to 8 lives, help 50 people By KATIE LANGFORD


See JUMP-START, page 8A ➤

Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer, 40, was removed from life support late Wednesday night after donating his organs. “Nobody realizes that they put their lives on the line for everybody, people they don’t even know,” said Jose Sedillo of law enforcement officers, tears welling in his eyes See HERO, page 8A ➤ at an E Road memorial. “Everyone says to hate the policemen, but I thank God for them. They don’t think they’re making a difference, but they are.”

3 fledgling firms given Jump-start approval

thought. But for thousands across the country, it’s a lifesaving difference. It’s a difference Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer made this week after he was shot and gravely wounded in the line of duty on Monday. Geer remained on life support for two days in order to


donate his organs, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. He was removed from life support and died Wednesday. According to Donate Life Colorado, one person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and help up to 50 people through eye and tissue donation.



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Donate Life Colorado spokeswoman Andrea Smith said the majority of people who choose not to register as an organ donor assume they would be ruled out because of age or medical conditions. “We like people to understand that anyone can register to be a donor,” Smith said. “We

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Vol. 123 No. 85


The Daily Sentinel • Friday, February 12, 2016

JUMP-START: 40 employees are expected to be hired in 5 years ➤ Continued from Page One

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel

A motorcade of law enforcement vehicles follows an ambulance Thursday carrying the body of fallen Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Derek Geer to Callahan-Edfast Mortuary after Geer was removed from life support and declared dead. He was gravely wounded in the line of duty Monday.

HERO: ‘It’s not OK to be on the map for this. We are now ...’ ➤ Continued from Page One Mary’s Hospital to Callahan-Edfast Mortuary on Thursday, a large memorial honoring law enforcement near Pomona Elementary School may have helped to ease some of the hurt felt by the family and fellow officers, Montgomery said. “Everybody saw it,” he said of the display on a fence off Patterson Road. “It was so cool.” On Thursday, students from New Emerson School visited the Sheriff’s Office just to sing a few songs, prompting a few tears from employees. Meals to the Sheriff’s Office have been donated from restaurants including Olive Garden, Jimmy John’s and Chick-fil-A, among others. Individuals have been donating meals, cash and cards of condolences to the Geer family through the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is compiling a calendar of events to direct people to an increasing number of fundraisers that businesses and individuals are promoting. Montgomery said the magnitude of support coming from residents is likely because people in the Grand Valley already are supportive of public safety officers and the shooting death of an officer is not acceptable. “You think about it and this is your home, and it’s not OK to be on the map for this,” he said. “We are now, and it’s hard. We’re going to get through this. That’s the biggest message.” After news spread that a memorial at the site of the shooting had been destroyed, community members lovingly restored it. By Thursday, it had grown significantly from some flowers placed in the ground to a sprawling display adorned with a rainbow of flowers, American flags, candles, photos, prayers and poems. A stream of people Thursday pulled up in vehicles to add mementos, mourn and snap photos. Jose Sedillo, with his 9-year-


Grand Valley residents stop to pray and lay flowers and view the memorial along E Road on Wednesday afternoon at the site where Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer was shot multiple times. old granddaughter, Izabelle Martinez, added a colorful bouquet of flowers and attached a balloon labeled, “Thank You.” Sedillo, like Deputy Geer, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. “Nobody realizes that they put their lives on the line for everybody, people they don’t even know,” Sedillo said of law enforcement officers, tears welling in his eyes and his voice cracking. “Everyone says to hate the policemen, but I thank God for them. They don’t think they’re making a difference, but they are.” A woman named Diana, who lives in the area but didn’t want to give her last name, has been watching the memorial expand and noted the groups of people showing up all day. Diana said she was struck

with how the slain deputy made an impact on so many people, including her granddaughter, who is an emergency dispatcher. “She knew him,” Diana said. “She’s really taking it hard.” Diana said her granddaughter remembers Deputy Geer for how caring he was and that he liked to joke with dispatchers. “They are so nice for all the things they do for people,” she added. “ ... now he’s in heaven.” Police have identified 17-yearold Austin Holzer as the shooter, but adult charges have not yet been filed. Geer was responding to the area on a report of a man with a gun. After making contact with the suspect, an altercation ensued after Geer confirmed


Community members have several ways to help the Sheriff’s Office and the Geer family, and the list keeps growing. ■ An online fundraising campaign for the Geer family is at www. ■ Sign up online to donate meals to the Geer family at www.mealtrain. com/trains/g0dn8o. ■ To organize a fundraiser or arrange a donation, call Wendy Likes at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office at 244-3900. to the man that he was being detained. Geer used a Taser on the suspect and the suspect shot Geer multiple times, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

example, you cannot recycle. “We know that 95 percent of all plastics end up in landfills,” he added. “I just designed something, if it’s going to happen, let’s let it break down in the landfill.” The other two companies that became the first to qualify for the program, which frees them from paying certain state and local taxes for up to eight years, were ProStar GeoCorp Inc., a Grand Junction-based company that plans to develop specialized software for energy companies, and TSW Analytical Inc., a Perth, Australia, company that can track agricultural and mineral products to their source. One of those companies, ProStar, also was awarded a $250,000 advanced industries grant from the office and the Colorado Energy Office, which offers its own grants for oil and gas energy startups. “It’s obviously a very tumultuous market when you’re a startup company, and even when you get to the point where you develop a product and start moving closer to operations, you could argue that’s when things really get tough,” Page Tucker, ProStar chief executive officer, told the commission. “I’m very excited about ProStar and the state should be very excited. ProStar has the opportunity to be a multi-billion-dollar company, which is obviously a huge tax base for the state of Colorado and in particular on the Western Slope.” The program, approved by the Colorado Legislature last year, is intended to aid economically distressed areas of the state that haven’t rebounded from the recent recession like the Front Range. Under it, businesses are exempt from paying state income taxes for four years, with an option on four more, and receive sales and use tax refunds on purchases of all tangible

personal property as long as it is used exclusively in the tax-friendly zone. Employees of those businesses — up to 300 in certain circumstances — also are entitled to a income tax credit of all of their wages for the four-year period with an option of reapplying for another four years. To qualify, businesses must offer a product or service that no other business is providing in that region, and must partner with a college or university in the state. In Mesa County’s case, it’s Colorado Mesa University. The regions also must have buy-in from local communities, which can provide additional tax incentives. In the Grand Valley, Mesa County and Grand Junction approved creating a jump-start zone, and even added an additional incentive of offering exemptions on local property taxes. Kristi Pollard, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, which was instrumental in creating the new zones and recruiting the companies, said the longterm hope is that the program not only would provide permanent, high-paying jobs, but also help spur new or existing companies to locate in the region that support those companies. Pollard said the three companies combined, at least in the first five years, expect to hire about 40 people. The collaboration with CMU also is designed to keep highly trained students who graduate from there to remain in the region, something Tucker said he’s already doing. “We’re already hiring students from (CMU) and we’re planning on hiring more,” he said. “A lot of those students were in the computer science department, and literally would have to leave the state to find employment. Now they have the opportunity to stay right in Grand Junction.”

DONOR: 2,700 in Colorado now waiting for transplants ➤ Continued from Page One Once someone is determined to be eligible, their information is entered into the national wait list for transplant recipients, which is run by the United Network for Organ Sharing. UNOS makes the decision about who receives harvested organs based on factors like severity of need, blood type, body size, distance from the donor, tissue type and how long they have been on the list. “A heart can only be viable outside of the body for a maximum of four hours, so it’s going to be allocated closer in geographic proximity to the donor,” Smith said. “Kidneys, on the other hand, are viable for up to 36 hours.”

The process does not cost families of donors any money. In Colorado, 67 percent of people are registered to donate their organs through the Donate Life Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. Smith said the best advice for people considering registering as an organ donor is to get the facts. “There are 2,700 people right here in Colorado waiting for lifesaving organ transplants,” Smith said. “These are real people who are our friends, neighbors and families in need of lifesaving gifts. Know the facts and make an educated decision. Talk to loved ones so they know your wishes, and it will make things easier for your family in one of the hardest times.”

RIOT: Clash between Zetas, Gulf drug cartels ➤ Continued from Page One

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flames and smoke billowing into the sky. Rescue workers were seen carrying injured inmates — some with burns — from the facility. Rodriguez said the clash was between two factions led by a member of the infamous Zetas drug cartel, Juan Pedro Zaldivar Farias, also known as “Z-27,” and Jorge Ivan Hernandez Cantu, who has been identified by Mexican media as a Gulf cartel figure. A turf war between the gangs bloodied Nuevo Leon state and neighboring Tamaulipas between 2010 and 2012. The Zetas once nearly controlled the area around Monterrey. Zaldivar Farias was a suspect in the 2010 killing of American David Hartley on Falcon Lake, which makes up part of the border between Mexico and Texas. Hartley was reportedly gunned down while touring the reservoir with his wife on jet skis. A crowd of people bundled against the cold gathered at the prison gates, demanding to be let in to learn the fate of their relatives. Some threw rocks, kicked and shook the gates as riot police with plastic shields kept the crowd out. Prison officials later began letting people enter in small numbers. “My brother is OK,” said Jose Eduardo Gonzalez, one of those allowed inside. “They only let me see him for a few minutes, just to see that he’s alive, and


Inmates stand on the rooftop of the Topo Chico prison as police guard the perimeters, after a riot broke out about midnight Thursday in Monterrey, Mexico. Dozens of inmates were killed and a dozen injured in a brutal fight between two rival factions at the prison in northern Mexico, the state governor said. then they took me out because they said they had to give the rest a chance to go in.” Authorities were reinforcing security at other prisons and had transferred some inmates out of Topo Chico, Rodriguez said. After initially saying the fighting didn’t involve gunfire, he later reported that at least one of the victims was shot to death. The deadliest prison riot in recent memory also occurred in Nuevo Leon, in February 2012, when Zetas gangsters killed 44 Gulf cartel members at the overcrowded Apodaca federal lockup.

A month earlier, 31 died in a Tamaulipas prison where inmates set upon each other with makeshift knives, clubs and stones. According to a 2014 report by the National Human Rights Commission, Topo Chico was designed to house 3,635 prisoners but actually held about 4,585 that year. Inmates there used violence as a way of exerting control in the prison, it added. Another report by the commission in 2013 highlighted violence and inmate control in many of Mexico’s prisons, symptoms of corruption and lack of resources.



February 16, 2016

Your community news source since 1893




erek Geer loved his family so much he would stay up for hours after finishing his night shifts to take his daughter, Macey, to school. She and her brother, Ian, in turn, could hardly wait to see their father in the afternoons as he was waking up, readying for another shift. It was likely sometime during the recitation of the letter penned by Geer’s wife, Kate, that most of the 1,500 friends, family and law enforcement who packed Canyon View Vineyard Church on Monday felt the tears begin to roll. “I believe that the two proudest moments were the birth of our son, Ian, and the moment that we became a family of four when Macey was placed in our arms,” the Rev. Kirk Yamaguchi read at the funeral service. “He was a father and husband who would text me and say, ‘I can’t wait to spend time with you guys.’ He lived for his time with us.” The whole world changed for the Geer family last week. The Mesa County sheriff’s deputy was gunned down Feb. 8, reportedly by a teenager, while responding to a call of a man with a gun in the Pear Park area. Geer, who was known as a happy, loyal person and a good worker, was taken off life support Wednesday after his organs were donated. A sense of loss and grief have rippled through law enforcement agencies not only in Mesa County, but across the country. Hundreds of officers in dress blues, white gloves and polished shoes hailing from California to Maine attended the afternoon service that was punctuated with formality and respect. Honor guards placed blue flowers in a vase near Geer’s flagdressed casket. A large photo of the beaming deputy stood before the crowd, sandwiched between generous bouquets of flowers. Law enforcement from a number of agencies took turns standing at stiff guard by Geer’s casket throughout the service. Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis said when he thinks about Geer, he remembers his goofy laugh. Lewis said Geer was happy and fun to be around, which can be an unusual trait for a person in law enforcement. In addition to being a deputy, Geer took on the task of being a victim’s advocate. “It was his way of doing good and helping people deal with difficult times in their lives,” Lewis said. “Derek was a hero in this community and stopped

See DEPUTY, page 10A ➤


Pallbearers carry the casket for Mesa County Sheriff’s Sgt. Derek Geer on Monday at Canyon View Vineyard Church in Grand Junction. The pallbearers served with Geer at the Sheriff’s Office. See a photo gallery and video at

Massive outpouring of support for deputy

Grand Junction residents lined much of the procession route Monday in support of Derek Geer, who was fatally wounded in an encounter with a teenage boy he had detained on Feb. 8. Geer suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was taken off life support several days after the incident. See more photos on page 7A.



hey came with their children. They came with signs. They came with their wheelchairs and walkers. They came with their dogs. They came from around the country, across the state and just down the road, a constant stream of law enforcement vehicles, lights flashing, sirens off. Some officers wiped away tears as they accompanied the hearse. They came Monday to stand vigil and pay respects to Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer, to Geer’s family and to the law enforcement officers

who are continuing to hold the thin blue line, which became thinner last week when Geer was mortally wounded on duty. Agencies from as far away as Missoula, Montana, and Rapid City, South Dakota, drove their vehicles through the processions to and from the church. Among them were law enforcement academy students at the Delta-Montrose Technical College, where Geer trained to be a deputy. Some nodded at the crowd, driving by with Geer’s photo taped to their windshields.

See SUPPORT, page 10A ➤

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel

Obama faces political puzzle in naming successor to Scalia By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY and MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

WASHINGTON — For most presidents, choosing a Supreme Court nominee is a puzzle. For President Barack Obama, the chance to pick a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia is more like a Gordian Knot. As the White House carries out a rare election-year search HOME PAGE OF WESTERN COLORADO

for a nominee, the president’s lawyers and top advisers are sorting through a tangled web of political, legal and personal factors. A smart pick and nomination strategy could determine whether Obama gets to reshape the highest court for the next generation. The wrong pick could cede that opportunity to his successor.


For President Barack Obama, the clock is ticking. The sooner he picks a name, the longer he has to try to force the Republican-led Senate to hold a vote. Democrats view this as a moment decades in the making. Recent Republican presidents have gotten more chances to fill seats, tilting the court in to the



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right. “The Supreme Court has not reflected where the American people have been on issues,” said Gregory Craig, who served

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as White House counsel early in Obama’s first term. “This is the first opportunity in many, many years to bring the court more in line with the American people.” For Obama, the clock is ticking. The sooner he picks a name, the longer he has to try to force the Republican-led Senate to hold a vote. At the heart of Obama’s di-

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lemma is how to manage the fierce Republican opposition to his decision to name a nominee. Within hours of Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republicans began arguing Obama should let his successor fill the open seat. Obama brushed that argument aside, but it is undoubtedly weighing on his decision.

Vol. 123 No. 89

See SCALIA, page 10A ➤


The Daily Sentinel • Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SCALIA: Lower court rulings SUPPORT: Crowd fell quiet as funeral procession passed by stand unless high court rules ➤ Continued from Page One

➤ Continued from Page One Given the election-year timing, Obama would likely have been inclined to name the nominee most likely to appeal to Republican senators. But if Republicans object to Obama even trying to fill the post — and remain united in that position —the president may see little point in bending too far to appease the other party. He may feel the pull to focus more on ginning up his own party’s base. Then key question becomes: What are the chances of getting a vote? This wouldn’t be “the first time Republicans have come out with a lot of bluster only to have reality sink in,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Monday. Refusing to allow a vote has consequences for the court, Shultz said, pointing to the prospects for tie votes that would allow lower court decisions to stand. Schultz said the president will use the same criteria he used when he nominated Sonia Sotomayor, who became the first Hispanic on the court, and Elena Kagan, then-solicitor general. In those instances, and in his appointments to lower courts, Obama has shown a desire to expand ethnic and racial diversity and to elevate more women.

His nominee would almost certainly support abortion rights, consideration of race in college admissions and other areas of public life, limits on campaign contributions and stronger rights of labor unions — all issues that have divided the court’s liberal and conservative justices on a 5-4 margin. In all likelihood, those cases where the conservatives prevailed, with Scalia in the majority, would come out the other way if Obama gets to pick Scalia’s successor. Obama also has prioritized young candidates — people likely to hold the seat for decades. He’s aimed for relatively uncontroversial personalities, people with views that fall into the category of mainstream liberal jurisprudence. Obama will also be mindful of the clock. He has said there is “plenty of time” for Republicans to consider his choice. The more time he gives them before then — particularly before the height of campaign season — the stronger his argument. The time crunch may lean in favor of candidates who’ve already been vetted for administration jobs or recent court appointments. It’s standard practice to keep files on possible nominees and assign a staff member in the White House Counsel’s office to manage and update the list.





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“Thank you,” a woman told a Fruita police officer riding in a patrol car, who returned her wave. “Thank you,” he replied. After a long line of law enforcement vehicles traveled from Callahan-Edfast Mortuary to Canyon View Vineyard Church and lined the roadways, the hearse drove past. Hands and hats were placed over hearts, salutes snapped to attention, and a quiet hush went over the crowd in which you could only hear the sound of tires, idling engines and the flap of flags held in their hands. Some held blue signs reading “#GeerStrong” and “Thank You.” Others watched in silence. The badges flashed in the sun as the hearse drove past the line of law enforcement officers standing watch by their cars, making way for Geer’s remains to travel to the service. Julie and Micah Berg of Grand Junction brought their three teenage sons, Logan, Colton and Trystan, to pay their respects. Julie said she knew Geer’s widow from her time selling Mary Kay cosmetics years ago, and wanted to show support for the Geer family and law enforcement in general. “My heart breaks for (the Geer) kids, and for this kid who made such a poor decision and ruined his life and changed so many lives, and I feel bad for his parents, too,” said Micah, noting that the shooting suspect is roughly the same age as their middle son. As the hearse drove past, Nature Johnston of Grand Junction stood at the roundabout and pulled out a white handkerchief, waving it as a last farewell. “We’re all gathering to honor his sacrifice,” she said, noting that she’s heartbroken for Geer’s family, but also for the family of the suspect. “But also, if we don’t consider the suspect as one of us, we do dishonor to the sacrifice Deputy Geer made. He could have killed that young man, but he didn’t.” Mostly, everyone was just sad, but there was an undercur-

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel

Fellow members of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office pay their respects as the funeral procession for Sgt. Derek Geer passes by. rent of anger at what happened a week ago, when a 17-year-old boy allegedly shot Geer multiple times. “I just think it’s wrong, what happened,” said Mike Denning of Mack. “It shouldn’t have happened at all.” Denning said he came to pay his respects because he values the job that officers do, especially since he’s in the property management business and has to deal with evictions, which often involve law enforcement. He’s angry that this happened. “I think the kid should have been shot there on the spot,” he said. “He was just doing his job,” Grand Junction resident Charles Hubbard, who was standing with Denning, said of Geer. “We’re seeing this kind of thing happen more and more lately, and that’s sad.” Alexa Sheldon of Grand Junction stood in the roundabout, passing out blue ribbons to passing drivers through their windows as they stopped. She wore a blue shirt she special-ordered from a local T-shirt shop, which said “Blue Lives Matter” on the front, and fought back tears as she watched all the law enforcement vehicles pass in the procession. She’s lived here for 25 years and said she’s grateful for everything emergency responders do to keep the valley safe. “All communities should respond like this,” she said. “The majority of cops are just trying to do their jobs and we need to come together and support them so they can do an even better job.” John McKee of Grand Junction came to honor his former co-worker from the Mesa County Jail. “He was a good guy. He was always smiling, always. I never saw him not smiling, and that’s a little bit unusual in a police officer,” he said. “They’re a more sober bunch, but he was always smiling.” McKee’s eyes filled with tears as he remembered Geer as a good officer. “He cared about his job, he cared about the community and he cared about people. It

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel

The hearse carrying Sgt. Geer’s casket travels down Riverside Parkway. would be sad if it happened to anybody, but he was special,” McKee said. Robert Shifflett, a 14-yearold from Fruita, spent his day off from school standing on the roadside with his family because he said he’s proud of the sacrifices officers make every day. “We came out here to show respect and to say thank you for guarding our country,” he said. Robert said he wants to work in law enforcement one day. “I really want to be a deputy and hearing that he got shot was terrifying,” he said. “Why would you kill a cop? Why?” Robert’s mother, Starshine, said she wanted the Geer family to know that the community was standing with them. “We’re here to support the family and the other officers in the community,” she said. “Anything they need, we’re here for them. He had our back, and we’ve got their back.” Grand Junction resident Kyle Castens worked in Mesa County Community Corrections for 13 years before changing to a career in business. “We work with the GJPD, the (Sheriff’s Office,) and these guys put their lives on the line every day,” Castens

said. “I know this hasn’t happened here in 110 years, but it happened in our home, in our community.” Geer was only the second Mesa County sheriff’s deputy to die in the line of duty, and the first since 1906. Castens said as a business owner, the police are who he relies on if something goes wrong. “Especially with everything that’s going on in the world these days and how anti-police society is becoming, I think it’s very important for all of the law enforcement here to know the support that they still have,” he said. Steve Montano brought his 9-year-old son, Stevie, to the procession to pay their respects. In the three years they’ve lived in Grand Junction, they’ve appreciated the public safety officials who work here and enjoy the friendly community. Stevie thinks he might want to be a police officer when he grows up, though this is the second procession he’s seen for an officer killed in the line of duty. “I want to show all the police officers that we care,” Steve said. “They’re doing a job that not too many people want to do. He was part of us — part of this town.”

DEPUTY: Central High grad, served in Navy ➤ Continued from Page One at nothing to give of himself for others. He stopped at nothing to actually fix issues, not just address them whatever the immediate symptom was.” Geer had worked in the Sheriff’s Office for 15 years, providing security at the Mesa County Justice Center, working in the civil division and working on patrol. Geer graduated from Central High School in 1994 and served in the U.S. Navy until he was honorably discharged in 1999. He met Kate in his last few months of military service. In the letter read by Yamaguchi, Kate explained that Derek always joked that Kate agreed to marry him after she hit her head on a coffee table when they first met. “He always told everyone that he knocked all the sense out of me and that’s how he got me to marry him just four months later,” Yamaguchi read. “I see it differently. I finally got the sense knocked into me because this was the perfect man for me. You see, Derek was an absolute blessing. He was my

very best friend. The one who got my humor and my ultimate protector … When the kids came along, he was a naturally good, doting and loving father. Ian and Macey meant the world to him.” Losing Geer has shaken up the Sheriff’s Office, but it has brought the department and community closer in some ways, Lewis said. He said people should prioritize their families and loved ones like Derek did. “I understand that this loss has shaken our community. I understand that our very sense of safety and security has been threatened,” Lewis said. “Derek will live in our hearts and memories forever. Although Derek has found peace, he has affected each one of us. Derek, we will never forget you. Kate, Ian and Macey, we are here for you. Let us all, every one of us, Geer up and keep going.” Grand Junction police spokeswoman Heidi Davidson has been helping coordinate an influx of support that has been streaming into the Sheriff’s Office. She said people have come forward offering up skills, cash

and prayers. The Sheriff’s Office received offers from individuals to pay for the funeral service. People offered to direct traffic so officers could attend the funeral service. Others wanted to host visitors who would be attending the service. Some people volunteered to wash patrol cars. One woman crocheted a bedspread. “The Sheriff’s Office has a wonderful philosophy, which is if we can say yes, say yes,” Davidson said. “People want to do something and we want to let them as much as we can. There’s something about feeling wounded as a community that seems to band us together.” Yamaguchi told mourners Geer’s favorite law enforcement saying was, “There are sheep. There are wolves. I am the sheepdog.” He said Geer loved the red heeler breed of dog, which Yamaguchi likened to Geer, who also was “unbelievably loyal, protective, playful, goofy.” “His goal is not to hurt anyone. Just keep the flock safe,” Yamaguchi said. “That’s Derek.”




February 17, 2016

Your community news source since 1893

File: Teen admitted killing deputy By MIKE WIGGINS

AUSTIN HOLZER Charges include first-degree murder of a peace officer, first-degree assault

The teenager accused of gunning down Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer confessed the crime to police, telling investigators in a rambling, profanity-laced interview that as he struggled with Geer he tried to shoot himself before turning the gun on the deputy. “He thought I was trying to shoot him and I was trying to shoot myself and then I tried to shoot him and it got to him

and I said, dude, you’re gonna get (expletive) shot ... and I cocked it back again and shot him three times in the face,” 17-year-old Austin Patrick Holzer told a Grand Junction police detective after he was captured in the backyard of a Grand Junction home within an hour after the Feb. 8 shooting. Records show Geer was shot in the head, neck, vest and hand with one of three handguns Holzer admitted to stealing from trucks he broke into in town over the last several

first-degree murder of a peace months. officer, first-degree assault, Geer was kept on life support for two days so his organs first-degree criminal trespass, could be donated. He died Feb. tampering with evidence, failure to register as a sex 10 and was buried Monday offender, defacing a during a service firearm, possession that drew hundreds MORE ONLINE of a defaced fireof law enforcement Read Austin Holzer’s arm, theft, possesofficers from around arrest affidavit online at sion of a handgun the country. by a juvenile and Authorities unlawfully carryreleased the arrest ing a concealed weapon. warrant for Holzer on TuesHolzer appeared before day, the same day prosecutors Mesa County Judge Bruce dismissed the juvenile case Raaum on those adult charges against him and brought Tuesday afternoon, and is a bevy of adult charges:

being held without bond until his next appearance before District Judge Richard Gurley on Feb. 23. He’s expected to be charged under a statute that strictly defines first-degree murder of a peace officer or firefighter. On that charge, the lowest possible penalty is life without the possibility of parole. The maximum penalty is death. Raaum told Holzer’s public defender, Steve Colvin, to take up the issue of bond with

See TEEN, page 7A ➤

Canyon I-70 closure to last days

GJ woman accused of asking teen to sell weed

Delays likely to last weeks longer due to large slide


around mile marker 124, west of the Hanging Lake tunnels. I-70 in Glenwood Canyon also saw rockfall in that same area earlier Monday that forced lane closures as cleanup occurred. The risk of rockfall rises as temperatures warm heading into spring, and freeze-thaw cycles in moist soil loosen rocks.

A 33-year-old Grand Junction woman who was out on bail on charges of sexual exploitation of a child and human trafficking was arrested again Friday on suspicion of asking a teenage boy to sell marijuana for her, according to the Grand Junction Police Department. Rebecca Jean Franklin appeared Tuesday before a judge on charges of conspiracy, criminal attempt to distribute marijuana concentrate to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, being a special ofREBECCA JEAN fender and FRANKLIN violation of Charges include bail-bond conditions. conspiracy, Accordcriminal attempt ing to the to distribute most recent affidavit marijuana for Frankconcentrate to a lin, the minor mother of a 16-year-old boy saw messages on her son’s Facebook page from a woman, later identified as Franklin, asking the woman’s son to sell marijuana. The mother took photos of the Feb. 1 conversation for police. “I just got some pineapple

See SLIDE, page 7A ➤

See WEED, page 5A ➤


A rockfall-triggered closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon created inconvenience and frustration for motorists Tuesday, and the aggravation is far from over. The main east-west thoroughfare through Colorado’s mountains, with average traffic levels of 300 vehicles per hour, will remain closed until Thursday, and traffic delays there will likely occur for more than a month following heavy rockfall Monday evening. Colorado Department of Transportation officials said the ongoing closure is needed to bring down other unstable rocks, put up netting and fencing and start repair work on east- and westbound lanes. Officials hope to reopen the highway by later in the day Thursday, but only on what are normally the eastbound lanes. Crews will use a pilot car to alternately usher through traffic going westbound and eastbound because the ongoing repair and rockfall work makes it unsafe to run head-to-head traffic on the eastbound lanes. “People can anticipate significant delays if they are coming through that area,” during the pilot car operations, CDOT spokesperson Amy Ford said. The pilot-car operation is

DEREK GEER Died Feb. 10 after being kept on life support; funeral was held Monday


A damaged semitrailer sits idle near a rockslide in Glenwood Canyon that occurred Monday night. Interstate 70 will remain closed to travelers until Thursday, and delays related to rock-removal and road repairs will likely occur for more than a month. expected to continue for several days before traffic can be opened to one lane traveling each direction, she said. “Obviously this is not ideal and we recognize that any repairs will be an inconvenience to the public,” she said. But she added that safety is CDOT’s “absolute concern.” I-70 is closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum.

CDOT is recommending a detour between Wolcott and Rifle, using Colorado Highway 131, U.S. Highway 40 at Steamboat Springs and Colorado Highway 13 at Craig. The 203-mile detour takes nearly four hours, adding about three hours to the normal drive between Rifle and Wolcott. Other options might be better for motorists depending on their destination,

including taking U.S. Highway 50 south from Grand Junction, authorities say. Ford said Monday evening’s rockfall occurred sometime after 9 p.m. and struck a truck. No one was injured, she said. “We had a number of large rocks come down,” she said. Some were the size of small cars, she said. The incident occurred

Water users association boss Obama: GOP must vote on court nominee Steve Fletcher resigns post By DARLENE SUPERVILLE and KATHLEEN HENNESSEY Associated Press


Embattled Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association General Manager Steve Fletcher resigned Tuesday, almost three weeks after it came to light that Fletcher promoted an employee he knew had built and detonated bombs at work and put feces in co-workers’ lunches. The employee, Aaron English, was promoted to water master in 2011 despite numerous complaints about his behavior. English resigned two weeks ago, HOME PAGE OF WESTERN COLORADO

according to association president Ray Schmalz. A workers compensation case provided to The Daily Sentinel detailed English’s actions, which included hiding milk jugs filled with accelerant where employees were clearing ditch banks with blow torches, and also defecating on co-workers while they worked in the ditches.

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The flag flies at half-staff outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Tuesday, following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.



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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that Republicans have no constitutional grounds to refuse to vote on a Supreme Court nominee, and he challenged his political foes in the Senate to rise above the “venom and rancor” that has paralyzed judicial nominations. As Obama cast the dispute over filling the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia as a test of whether the Senate could function, there were early signs that Republican resistance could be eroding. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles

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Grassley suggested he might be open to considering Obama’s yet-to-be named nominee, an indication his party may be sensitive to Democrats’ escalating charges of unchecked obstructionism. “I intend to do my job between now and January 20 of 2017,” Obama told reporters at a news conference. He said of the nation’s senators: “I expect them to do their job as well.” Obama was in California for a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders gathered for two days

Vol. 123 No. 90

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The Daily Sentinel • Wednesday, February 17, 2016


TEEN: Arrest warrant portrays him as a heavy IS faces budget crunch, killing perks drug user, drifter who feared returning to jail By LORI HINNANT, ZEINA KARAM and SUSANNAH GEORGE Associated Press

➤ Continued from Page One Gurley at his next appearance. Under Colorado statute, all defendants have the chance at bail, except “for capital offenses when proof is evident or presumption is great.” Holzer is still being held at the Division of Youth Corrections, and appeared in person in court in maroon jail clothing typical of the DYC. Two deputies closely flanked Holzer, while members of Geer’s family filled a couple of rows on the opposite side of the courtroom from him. Holzer’s father, Chris, was swept into the courtroom with a host of lawyers and staff representing his son, trying to conceal his identity as he walked briskly past waiting media. In the courtroom, he took a seat in the back row behind his son and was quiet and somber-looking during the proceedings. The heavily redacted 19-page arrest warrant — built on interviews with several witnesses to the shooting and family members, friends and acquaintances of Holzer — portrays the teen as a heavy drug user and drifter who was angry about being kicked out of his father’s home last year and upset about a girl he was interested in moving to another state. Holzer, who was wanted for violating his probation in a sexual-assault case, told police he feared going back to jail. “I’ve been in jail, and I (expletive) hated it,” he said. “Hated all my life. I’d rather run than get caught by a cop. That’s why I wanted him to shoot me. I knew I was going to jail. I was like just shoot me, please, just please. He wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t shoot me. Couldn’t even shoot myself.” An employee with STRIVE, a nonprofit organization that serves developmentally disabled clients, called 911 at 11:06 a.m. on Feb. 8 to report a man was walking past an office building in the 500 block of Fruitvale Court holding a handgun under his armpit. It wasn’t until 1:30 p.m., when they returned to STRIVE to interview the employee more than an hour after Geer was mortally wounded, that police learned more about the gunman’s activity. The employee told police the gunman walked to the end of Fruitvale Court and crossed the Interstate 70 Business Loop. When the gunman reached the railroad tracks, the employee heard two loud noises he believed to be gunshots. He said he didn’t actually see the gunman fire the gun, but he believed that’s what happened. Officers found several shell casings in a nearby canal. At 11:14 a.m., eight minutes

BEIRUT — Faced with a cash shortage in its so-called caliphate, the Islamic State group has slashed salaries across the region, asked Raqqa residents to pay utility bills in black market American dollars, and is now releasing detainees for a price of $500 a person. The extremists who once bragged about minting their own currency are having a hard time meeting expenses, thanks to coalition airstrikes and other measures that have eroded millions from their finances since last fall.

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel

Chris Holzer, father of Austin Holzer, tries to evade cameras on his way into his son’s hearing at the Mesa County Justice Center.

the gun, which was in the front of his waistband, and he was trying to pull it out. Holzer said he fell to his stomach and Geer got on top of him, where they struggled over Holzer’s hands. He said he removed the gun from his waistband and Geer stepped away from him. “And he couldn’t see it ... he couldn’t see it and I had it out for like ... my hand is still stuck like this and I still had it out like this ... and it just didn’t work ... click ... and then I pointed it at him, because he finally got off because he saw it and I was like click ... it didn’t work ... and then I cocked it back and then pow, pow, pow,” Holzer said. During his interview, Holzer admitted to an extensive history of drug use, estimating he had used methamphetamine daily since September, regularly smoked marijuana, and mixed cocaine with meth on a couple occasions. He said he last used meth two days before the shooting. Holzer said he filed the serial number off the gun he used to kill Geer, “so the owner of the gun would not get in trouble for anything he did with the gun,” the affidavit said. The gun was found in some shrubs where Holzer was found hiding. In examining the shooting scene, detectives found four spent shell casings near the front of Geer’s patrol vehicle. Geer’s handgun was found next to his body near the rear of the patrol vehicle. Detectives checked Geer’s handgun. No rounds had been fired from it.

after the STRIVE employee called 911, Geer announced on radio traffic that he had made contact with a male on E Road near 30 3/4 Road. One minute later, he announced that he had deployed his Taser. A minute after that, another sheriff’s deputy reported shots fired and asked for an ambulance, then reported Geer was down with a gunshot wound to his face and bleeding heavily. Several witnesses came upon the scene right as the scuffle and shooting occurred. One witness reported seeing Geer on top of Holzer deploying his Taser. That witness continued on without seeing anything else. Another witness said she saw Holzer on the ground and Geer standing up facing him. She said she then saw Holzer stand up with a gun and fire two or three shots at Geer. Officers brought in a K-9 to try to track the gunman, and the dog led them to the front yard of a home in the 400 block of Ol’ Sun Drive. Just after noon, they spoke with a resident who indicated Holzer was in his backyard and Holzer told him he had shot the deputy. The resident said he told Holzer to “get the hell out of the house.” Officers found Holzer in the backyard and arrested him. In his interview with police, which was attended by Holzer’s father, Holzer told detectives Geer stepped out of his patrol car, approached him and began asking him questions. He said Geer told him he was going to be detained, so he decided to try to run. Geer deployed his Taser, striking Holzer in the back. At the time Geer fired his Taser, Holzer said he had his hand on

Having built up loyalty among militants with good salaries and honeymoon and baby bonuses, the group has stopped providing even the smaller perks: free energy drinks and Snickers bars. Necessities are dwindling in its urban centers, leading to shortages and widespread inflation, according to exiles and those still suffering under its rule. Interviews gathered over several weeks included three exiles with networks of family and acquaintances still in the group’s stronghold in Raqqa, residents in Mosul, and analysts who say IS is turning to alternative funding streams, including in Libya.

In Raqqa, the group’s stronghold in Syria, salaries have been halved since December, electricity is rationed, and prices for basics are spiraling out of reach, according to people exiled from the city. “Not just the militants. Any civil servant, from the courts to the schools, they cut their salary by 50 percent,” said a Raqqa activist now living in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, who remains in close contact with his native city. But that apparently wasn’t enough to close the gap for a group that needs money to replace weapons lost in airstrikes and battles, and pays its fighters first and foremost.


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City Editor Duffy Hayes contributed to this story.

SLIDE: Driver of semitrailer thankful to be OK ➤ Continued from Page One I-70 has been hammered by rockfall in the canyon in the past, including in March 2010, when rocks knocked holes in an elevated portion of the roadway and closed the highway for several days. Ford said that as rockfall season begins, motorists should be cognizant of their surroundings. While CDOT does proactive rockfall mitigation work, “you are still driving in a mountain environment,” she said. She said CDOT has a $9 million rockfall mitigation program targeting about 750 areas around the state. Ron Milhorn, news and sports director at the KMTS radio station in Glenwood Springs, said he was coming back from Denver and celebrating the birth of his first grandchild when he was stopped in Glenwood Canyon Monday night perhaps 100 yards back from where the rocks fell. He pulled over to a safe spot and decided to go investigate as a reporter. “I walked up there and saw the damage and was just astounded,” he said. He said the trailer of a semi had been “obliterated” by a carsized rock, and he talked to the truck’s driver, Ray Hatch of Las Vegas. “He was remarkably calm and collected and thanking his guardian angels for sparing his life,” Milhorn said. He said Hatch saw the car in front of him vanish in a cloud of dust as the rocks fell, but the car didn’t get struck. Hatch then hit a boulder before the second rock caved in his trailer. “This was his first day back on the job after seven weeks

Rockslide in Glenwood Canyon shuts down interstate Craig

Steamboat Springs







Grand 70 Junction

Glenwood Springs X Rifle

9 Wolcott


Vail 24

82 Leadville



Montrose 550

Suggested alternate routes to Denver




Independence 24 Pass closed

24 9

Salida 285




Aspen 50

Winter Park

Colorado Springs

50 Pueblo 40 miles

ROBERT GARCÍA/The Daily Sentinel rehabbing from neck surgery,” Milhorn said. Milhorn said the drivers of some westbound vehicles caught behind the rockfall decided to turn around and drive east against the traffic, and an accident with a responding fire truck almost resulted. He said vehicles were escorted east from the canyon around midnight, and motorists were left to continue east and fend for themselves. “It was a mad scramble for hotel rooms” in Eagle, where Milhorn said he believes he got one of the last rooms available. Sean Elias, an employee at the Village Inn restaurant just off the main I-70 exit in Glenwood Springs, said the restaurant had little business at first on Tuesday morning, despite all

the vehicles outside. “We had a full parking lot with really no one (eating) inside — just sleeping in their vehicles,” he said. Eventually business started picking up, but a lot of people were just coming in for some coffee and information on the highway condition and possible detours, he said. Colorado State Patrol Capt. Douglas Conrad, whose Troop 4B is based in Craig and serves much of northwest Colorado, said authorities were seeing a little bit of an increase in traffic Tuesday on CDOT’s recommended detour route. With motorists having to deal with the extended travel time, “we’re getting a few reports of some road rage and aggressive driving,” he said.






October 5, 2016

source since 1893

‘A healing connection’

Witness: Suspect ‘upbeat’ over crime

CMU students learn about Bears Ears area



Gabriel Otero feels a draw to southeast Utah, an area rich in archaeological resources and the natural, untouched beauty of the desert. “It’s a healing connection for me,” the Colorado Mesa University student said. “There’s no other place like it.” Members of two CMU student groups put on a presentation Tuesday night about a proposal for a national monument for the Bears Ears area, a 1.9 million-acre swath of land in southeast Utah, south of Moab. Otero, a member of the Latino Student Alliance, who also is doing contract work for the Wilderness Society, said he wanted to bring a presentation to the university to inform fellow college students of the issue. “The big thing we want is for control for the Inter-Tribal Coalition,” Otero said. “The opposition wants all the control. If they have all the con-

Accused killer Austin Holzer appeared elated at the attention he experienced in the days following the February shooting of a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy, joking that he should appear on a TV show about criminals evading law enforcement, and celebrating when his picture appeared in the newspaper and AUSTIN HOLZER when a Accused of killing memorial sheriff’s deputy honoring the deputy was vandalized, a witness said Tuesday in court. Holzer, who was 17 when he allegedly gunned down sheriff’s deputy Derek Geer on Feb. 8, was originally housed at Grand Mesa Youth Services Center after his arrest. Roland Romero, a former youth correctional officer, testified Tuesday that Holzer had to be “redirected” several times for inappropriately talking about his criminal charges. Romero said he overheard an “upbeat” Holzer telling another youth inmate that he should have been featured on the TV show “I (Almost) Got Away With It.” On Feb. 11, Holzer was “pumped” after a phone call, raising his arms in the air and running around before asking Romero for a copy of The Daily Sentinel. Romero recalled Holzer saying, “I just made the front page. My homies say I look like a ‘g.’” “G,” Romero explained in court, is slang for “gangster,”

trol, you won’t have the same protections.” According to a website for the Inter-Tribal Coalition, the proposal aims to convert the area into a national monument with control shared by tribes like the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni tribes, among 25 other tribes, and federal agencies. The area is brimming with cultural and archaeological artifacts, and it represents a spiritual place that needs further protections, proponents of monument status say. About 40 community members showed up Tuesday night at Colorado Mesa University and listened to a presentation by Robert Gay, a paleontologist and curator of education with the Museums of Western Colorado. Gay detailed the massive amount of mostly un-

See BEARS EARS, page 7A ➤

Visitors explore the Tower Ruin in the Cedar Mesa area of the proposed Bears Ears monument. At nearly 2 million acres,the area features more than 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites.

Photos by CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel

See WITNESS, page 7A ➤

The House on Fire Ruin is tucked into the base of a massive sandstone overhang in the Cedar Mesa area.

Kaine, Pence go toe-to-toe in VP debate Nucor, Encana end

drilling deals, enter into lease agreement

Kaine quickly goes on offensive; Pence maintains cool under fire By JULIE PACE and THOMAS BEAUMONT Associated Press

FARMVILLE, Va. — Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine aggressively challenged Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over a long list of Donald Trump’s controversial positions and statements Tuesday night, drawing a vigorous defense from the Republican No. 2 on Trump’s tax history. But Pence left criticism of Trump’s demeaning comments about women, his public doubting of Barack Obama’s citizenship and broader questions about temperament go largely unchallenged. Pence and Kaine, who have received little attention in a race focused on Trump and Hillary Clinton, faced off for 90 minutes in the only vice presidential debate of the campaign. With the close White House race perhaps starting to tip in Clinton’s favor, Pence outlined a detailed conservative agenda on tax policy, entitlements and immigration. He was markedly more prepared and more detailed in his answers than Trump was in last week’s first HOME PAGE OF WESTERN COLORADO

presidential debate. He was also more consistent in painting the Democratic ticket as career politicians unwilling to shake up Washington. “Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want more of the same,” Pence said. He also repeatedly accused the Democrats of running an “insult-driven” campaign — an ironic attack line given that Trump has leveled repeated insults against Clinton and his former rivals in the Republican primaries. There was a striking difference in the two men’s manner. Kaine, Clinton’s usually easygoing No. 2, went on the attack from the start, repeatedly interrupting and challenging Pence. Pence, an equally genial politician, was unflappable. Kaine pressured Pence to answer for some of his running mate’s provocative statements, using Trump’s own words such as dismissing some women as pigs or slobs. He also challenged Pence on Trump’s decision to break with decades of campaign tradition by not releasing his taxes.




Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence greet the audience during the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Tuesday. “Donald Trump must give the American public his tax returns to show he’s prepared to be president, and he’s breaking his promise,” Kaine said. Asked about reports that Trump might not have paid any federal taxes for years, Pence said his running mate “used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used, and he did it brilliantly.”


Business..................... 5A Comics ...................... 8B

Kaine, too, defended his running mate’s weaknesses, chiefly the public’s questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. He said that while Trump was “selfish,” Clinton had devoted her career to helping children and families. Social issues were a bigger

See DEBATE, page 7A ➤

Food .......................... 8A Classifieds ..................... 1C

Sports ...................... 1B Obituaries ................ 7B

A major steelmaker and the oil and gas producer Encana have ended deals compelling them to jointly develop thousands of natural gas wells in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin when gas prices are high enough. In their place, Nucor has bought a 49 percent oil and gas lease interest from Encana on about 54,000 acres in the Piceance, with Encana retaining a 51 percent controlling interest in that acreage. The companies both said ending their joint venture gives them more flexibility in decisions about where to make capital investments. In the short term, at least, that could mean a delay in any resumption of drilling by Encana locally. Under the joint venture with Nucor, Encana would have been obligated to drill once natural gas prices rose to a predeter-

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mined level. “We wanted to have the flexibility to really direct our capital where we felt we would have the highest (profit) margins,” Encana spokesman Doug Hock said. For now, anyway, that means spending money in what Encana considers its four core areas — two basins in Texas and two in Canada that are more liquids-rich than the Piceance, which primarily produces natural gas. As for Nucor, the new transactions with Encana “preserve Nucor's long-term access to low cost gas resources in support of Nucor’s raw material strategy. We think this … is a win-win for both companies," John Ferriola, Nucor’s chairman, chief executive officer and president, said in a news release.

Vol. 123 No. 321

See DEALS, page 7A ➤

The Daily Sentinel • Wednesday, October 5, 2016

BEARS EARS: Vast area rich in widely overlooked, rare paleontological resources ➤ Continued from Page One discovered dinosaur, amphibian and plant fossils concentrated in the area. He cited multiple examples of paleontological finds, some of which are the first of their kind to be found in Utah and the U.S. And, new species of dinosaur fossils that haven’t yet been identified and need further study have been found in the area, he said. Gay said some areas are prone to looting and people have partially dug fossils from the earth. Off-road all-terrain vehicle tracks trace across fossil beds and, as people use the hills for target practice, bullets are being found in fossils. For example, a bullet was found in the jawbone of an ancient crocodile fossil, he said. “The cultural and historical resources are absolutely important, but we shouldn’t overlook the paleontological resources,” he said. According to a website for the Inter-Tribal Coalition, the Bears Ears National Monument proposal aims to protect the

more than 100,000 archaeological sites and continue to allow religious practices. “The Bears Ears land is a unique cultural place where we visit and practice our traditional religions for the purpose of attaining or resuming health for ourselves, human communities, and our natural world as an interconnected and inextricable whole,” the Coalition states on its website. “Our relationship and visits to Bears Ears are essential for this process. Ruining the integrity of these lands forever compromises our ability to heal. The traditional knowledge related to Bears Ears is important and irreplaceable in itself. The continuity of indigenous traditional medicine is in peril, as long as lands like the Bears Ears are not protected.” Two bills based on the Public Lands Initiative introduced by Utah lawmakers this summer aim to halt a monument designation and allow mining and other resource development in seven counties in Utah, including in an area that is part of the Bears Ears.

1.9 million acres targeted for federal protection

Green River


Canyonlands National Park



Visit to view photo galleries from Sentinel photographers Christopher Tomlinson, Dean Humphrey, and Gretel Daugherty

Utah Utah




Colorado River



Proposed Bears Ears National Monument



Blanding Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Natural Bridges National Monument


Lake Powell

Navajo Nation 15 miles

San Juan River


Mexican Hat

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe



160 ROBERT GARCÍA/Daily Sentinel

Source: The Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition

WITNESS: Suspect tried for 1st-degree murder ➤ Continued from Page One and Holzer heard from his friends he was “looking pretty awesome” in the photo that was taken from Facebook. Holzer seemed similarly elated when he heard that a memorial set up in Geer’s honor had been vandalized, Romero said. “(He said), ‘My homies got my back, they just destroyed the memorial set up for Geer,’” Romero recounted in court. Holzer’s behavior was problematic at the center, Romero said. “Other youth feed off of that …,” Romero said. “Other youth were talking about, ‘I would have done the same thing, I hate officers.’” When confronted about his behavior, Holzer appeared insincere, Romero said. “He would (reply) with, ‘Oh, my bad,’” Romero said. Holzer is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting that killed Geer, which occurred after a scuffle in which the deputy opted to use his Taser but apparently not his handgun. If convicted, Holzer would face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Geer, 40, was a married father of two, a 15-year veteran of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and a U.S. Navy veteran. Prosecutors are seeking in hearings this week to convince District Judge Richard Gurley to continue to hold Holzer without bond. Colorado law says nobond holds are allowed in capital cases if “proof is evident” and “presumption is great” that a defendant is guilty of crimes charged. Although Holzer reportedly

confessed to the shooting after his arrest, the defense has asked for the hearing, where prosecutors will be presenting a summary of the evidence against him. The hearings, which are scheduled to begin again today at 9 a.m., will be followed in coming weeks by more hearings where Holzer’s attorneys will attempt to show why his prosecution should be moved to juvenile court. Gurley heard more about Holzer’s apparently erratic moods and relationships in Tuesday’s testimony; the night before the Feb. 8 shooting, Holzer, who was homeless and trying to avoid several warrants for his arrest, had spent the afternoon smoking methamphetamine with a girl he was “in love with” and an older man, according to testimony from Grand Junction Police Detective Charles Rojo, who interviewed the friend. The older man described Holzer as “very quiet” and “introverted.” The next morning, the teen told a friend that he was hurt and angry after the girl “rejected” him. After he left the building where the three of them had spent the night, Geer approached Holzer following a 911 call of a suspicious man matching Holzer’s description and carrying a gun. Geer tried to detain Holzer, who resisted, according to earlier reports. Geer used his Taser against the teen, who allegedly grabbed a gun from his pants and shot four times, hitting Geer in the face, neck and hands before fleeing. While earlier reports described Holzer as distraught and possibly suicidal following

his arrest, Romero said the teen was “upbeat” and “laughing, joking, just having a great time” in his first week at the youth facility. Other staff members heard from other youth inmates that Holzer had been heard singing the song, “I Shot the Sheriff,” and Romero himself saw Holzer mime a shooting action at a sheriff character on the television one day. Defense attorney Sheryl Uhlmann pointed out during cross-examination that Holzer was hardly the first youth inmate at Grand Mesa DYC to “glorify” his alleged crimes. She also asked Romero whether he ever heard Holzer say, “I hate cops,” himself. Romero said no. Romero described overhearing one end of a phone conversation where Holzer was speaking to his father on Feb. 9, the day after the shooting. Holzer asked his father several times whether he would bring money for the commissary, the snack shop that is available to youth inmates only once each month. “All he cared about that day was commissary,” Romero said. Attorneys on both sides drew out testimony that would point to Holzer’s state of mind leading up to the shooting. Grand Junction Police Detective Michael Struwe testified that a friend of Holzer’s told him that Holzer was upset about the upcoming anniversary of a friend’s death. The friend had apparently died violently, Struwe said. Holzer told his friend he “wanted to go out that way,” Struwe said. The friend told Struwe he interpreted Holzer’s comments as wanting to “do something violent, perhaps shoot someone or rob a store.”

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DEALS: Both companies see potential benefits ➤ Continued from Page One Encana and Nucor have ended a drilling agreement reached in 2010 and a larger one that came two years later. They involved sharing in the upfront cost of drilling wells in exchange for Nucor gaining a working interest in the wells that are drilled. The 2012 agreement held the potential for Encana to drill more than 4,000 wells over 20 years on some 50,000 acres of federal leases stretching from Garfield County into Rio Blanco County. Nucor said at the time that it expected to invest $542 million over the following three years and about $3.64 billion over the estimated 13- to 22-year term of the agreement. Nucor, based in North Caroli-

na, is a heavy consumer of natural gas and got involved with Encana as a hedge against the possibility of rising natural gas prices. The joint venture wasn’t designed to ship the gas produced to its factories, but rather was intended to ensure that if gas prices go up, Nucor also is invested on the gas supply side. Encana and Nucor eventually suspended drilling under the joint venture under terms allowing for that if prices fell too low. By late 2013 Encana decided to stop drilling altogether in the Piceance, and it hasn’t drilled locally since. A Nucor official later told The Daily Sentinel that as many as 300 wells probably had been drilled under the joint venture before work was suspended. Nucor said Tuesday it is keeping all producing wells it owns.

Hock said Nucor’s new lease ownership covers the same acreage that was involved in the 2012 agreement. Encana, as majority owner, would decide if and when to drill on the acreage, and Hock said Nucor would have a 49 percent ownership of proceeds from any drilling. Nucor said in its release that the new ownership structure “provides Nucor full discretion on its participation in all future drilling capital investment.” Nucor also sold its half-interest in Hunter Ridge Energy Services LLC to Encana. Hunter Ridge was formed by the two companies to provide gas gathering and water services. Nucor didn’t disclose in its news release the dollar amounts involved in the lease and Hunter Ridge transactions.

DEBATE: Abortion, foreign policy and justice ➤ Continued from Page One part of the conversation than in the first presidential showdown, reflecting both candidates’ religious faith. Kaine, a Catholic who personally opposes abortion but has consistently voted in favor of abortion rights, said of the Republican nominee, “Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?” He also pointed to Trump’s assertion that women should face some kind of “punishment” for abortion, a comment Trump later walked back. Pence stressed his opposition to abortion and said he was

“proud to be standing with Donald Trump” on the issue. On national security, Kaine revived Trump’s frequently flattering comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He loves dictators,” Kaine said. “He’s got like a personal Mount Rushmore: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Moammar Gadhafi and Saddam Hussein.” Pence tried to flip the tables by accusing Kaine’s running mate of stoking Russia’s belligerence. “The weak and feckless foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has awaked an aggression in Russia that first appeared in Russia a few years ago,” Pence said. “All the while,

all we do is fold our arms and say we’re not having talks anymore.” On criminal justice, Kaine argued that Trump’s embrace of “stop and frisk” style policing was a mistake. Pence argued that Clinton has used police shootings to argue that there is “implicit bias” in police departments, and he said the Democrats should “stop seizing on these moments of tragedy.” Kaine quickly shot back: “I can’t believe you are defending the position that there’s no bias.” Tuesday’s contest was the only time Kaine and Pence will face off in this election, while Trump and Clinton tangle in three contests.


Veteran deputy shot