by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG – A month to the day after a gunshot wound was reported to Walsenburg police from emergency room personnel at Spanish Peaks Regional Medical Center, Walsenburg Police Department Chief James Chamberlain identified the victim in the case.
Chamberlain said police have attempted to get the straight story of what happened from 19-year old Arey Ortiz, of Walsenburg, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the groin by hospital staff.
“We’ve given him plenty of opportunities to talk to us,” Chamberlain said this week. He said three or four appointments have been made for Ortiz to talk to WPD Officer Joe Deatherage, who is handling the investigation, but each time Ortiz has been a ‘no show’.
Chamberlain said the scant physical evidence in the case doesn’t match what the victim has told police in brief, initial interviews. “The physical evidence doesn’t support the stories he has told us,” Chamberlain said.
Ortiz’s initial statement indicated he was walking near the Loaf & Jug convenience store when he heard ‘a couple of gunshots’ and then ‘felt he had been hit’. The police chief said Ortiz’s story changed and the victim said the incident happened on Pennsylvania Ave.
The clothes Ortiz was wearing at the time of the incident have been taken into evidence and are currently in possession of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Chamberlain said no gunshot tears were found anywhere on the victim’s clothing when they were taken into evidence.
“He has not been truthful with us and we don’t know why,” Chamberlain said. “Either he is going to come in and make a statement or not.”
The chief said while the investigation is still open and ongoing, it is reaching a standstill point with no new evidence coming to light.
He said no outside information has been developed in the case, and police ask if anyone knows any details regarding the incident to please contact them.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward