Investigation into fatal Monday night shooting continues in western Huerfano County
by Eric Mullens
HUERFANO — The investigation into a fatal shooting Monday night in what is initially believed to have been a marijuana rip-off gone bad, continues at a remote home on CR 530 in western Huerfano County.
Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman said Wednesday the US Drug Enforcement Agency has seized all of the marijuana plants and growing equipment from the site and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation was back at the location continuing the crime scene and forensic investigation.
Sheriff Newman said investigators, despite having the residents’ consent to enter the home, waited on a search warrant Tuesday before entering the home.
Sheriff Newman had little new information as of mid-week, although he said the suspected intruder who was killed by the resident is a man in his early 40s from northern Colorado. Neither he, nor the two residents of the home, are being identified by law enforcement at this time.
A 911 call was made after 7 pm Monday, March 14 reporting the home invasion and fatal shooting. One resident of the home suffered a non-fatal gunshot wound to his hand and was treated at an undisclosed location in northern Colorado. Sheriff Newman said the individual was interviewed by a CBI agent and he hopes details about the incident will emerge from that interview.
It is believed three armed suspects arrived at the home around 7 pm and may have split up upon arrival. One of the suspects got into a confrontation with the male resident of the home and was fatally shot. The Huerfano County coroner arrived at the scene Tuesday and pronounced the unidentified individual dead.
“This goes to show you a lot about what marijuana has done to this state,” Sheriff Newman said Tuesday, “some people think they can come to Colorado and illegally grow marijuana and they will be treated leniently.”
“This just goes to show how violent it has gotten,” Sheriff Newman said. He said the large illegal marijuana growing operation was sophisticated, but nothing out of the ordinary could be seen from the roadway. Sheriff Newman called the grow ‘a high dollar set up’.
“This is an isolated incident,” he said, “This location was specifically targeted.”
Sheriff Newman expressed concerns that other illegal marijuana grows could bring more violence to the county and to Walsenburg, La Veta, and Gardner. He will be discussing this issue with DEA agents this week.
Walsenburg has already had two incidents in which one home was invaded and medical marijuana taken, and a shooting on West Seventh Street that is believed to have been drug related.
It is believed two additional suspects fled the area after the shooting and are being sought by law enforcement. Sheriff Newman said Wednesday there is no evidence the other suspects have remained in the area.
Sheriff Newman said the investigation is being headed by a team from the sheriff’s office with assistance from the state and federal agencies.