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SUNRISE: Bicyclist injured as bullets fly in Springs

April 13, 2012

One man was shot in the knee Thursday and four more got a scare as bullets flew into an apartment early Friday morning.

The wounded man was riding his bike with a friend early Thursday afternoon near Chelton Road and Murray Boulevard when a white SUV drove past and one of the people in the vehicle fired a single shot, Colorado Springs police said.

The bullet hit the man in the knee and a friend took him to Memorial Hospital.

Colorado Springs police were called to the hospital at 3 p.m. to investigate the shooting that happened around 1:30 p.m. At 6 a.m. Friday, officers were still looking for the gunman and any information that might lead to an arrest.

The other gunshots flew into an occupied apartment at the Heritage Place Apartments on North Murray Boulevard just before 1 a.m. Friday.

Four people were in the apartment when a pair of shots came through the residence. Nobody was hurt, police said, but two windows were broken, blinds were heavily damaged and the bullets ended up lodged in the ceiling.

Anyone with information that could help police find the shooters in either incident is asked to call CSPD at 444-7000.



More than 15,000 locals and a handful of experts share their wisdom Friday on where to find the best that Colorado Springs has to offer. The special section can be found in Friday’s Gazette and at


The jury was still deliberating Friday morning in the Joshua Carrier sex abuse trial. The verdict could come in sometime Friday or the trial could spill over into next week. Follow Gazette court reporter Lance Benzel @lancebenzel on Twitter for updates, including news when the jury finishes deliberation. Stay with for the verdict and possible sentencing of the former Colorado Springs police officer accused of abusing several kids at a local middle school.

BEST OF OUR SITES Optimism for a greener future in Hayman scar Weekend of jazz at the Broadmoor Local Air Force wife organizes kids' clothing swap Signing day: Cheyenne Mountain's Stimple to golf at Creighton "Dateline NBC" series puts parental maxims to the test The Corner Mechanic car care tip of the week



Sunny skies are expected throughout the day Friday before clouds move in Saturday and bring a chance for rain and maybe even some snow, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service predicts highs around 60 degrees in the Colorado Springs area Friday with winds up to 20 mph. The winds should remain overnight as temperatures dip to about 34 degrees.

Saturday is expected to start out partly sunny before rain showers turning into snow come into the area in the afternoon and throughout the night. Highs for Saturday should be in the 50s with overnight lows in the 30s.

The snow could linger into Sunday morning before partly sunny conditions return. The weather service expects a 40 percent chance of more precipitation throughout Sunday with temperatures around 46 degrees.

Total accumulation of snow is expected to be about a half inch, the weather service said.



Cowboy-clad man robs Meeker bank; suspect arrested

MEEKER (AP) — Authorities say a man wearing a cowboy hat, boots and spurs robbed a bank in Meeker, and a suspect was arrested about an hour later.

The Craig Daily Press reports the Mountain Valley Bank was robbed at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. It wasn't immediately clear whether the robber showed a weapon.

A man matching the robber's description was spotted at 10:30 a.m. at a truck yard in town. When deputies arrived, the man tried to flee by swimming across the White River but was apprehended on the other side.

Authorities identified the suspect as Jock Thacker. He was arrested on suspicion of robbery and was being held in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Officials haven't said how much money was taken but said it was recovered.

Man accused of shooting Evans officer is jailed

EVANS (AP) — A man accused of shooting and wounding an Evans police officer before turning the gun on himself has been released from a hospital and jailed on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder.

The Greeley Tribune reports 25-year-old Matthew Gene Rockwell of Evans was jailed Wednesday.

Rockwell is accused of opening fire on officers who went to his apartment on March 30 after a report that Rockwell's girlfriend needed medical attention.

Authorities allege Rockwell fired eight or nine rounds from a handgun, striking officer Pete Bratton.

A police affidavit released Thursday says Bratton suffered broken bones and a bruised lung. Authorities say he's expected to made a full recovery.

Rockwell suffered a gunshot wound in his head.

Bail was set at $2 million.

Witness: Trooper distraught after fatal shooting

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) — The supervisor of a state trooper charged with fatally shooting an unarmed suspect says the trooper was distraught and yelled "I thought he had a weapon" after the shooting.

Ivan "Gene" Lawyer is on trial in Mesa County District Court on charges of criminally negligent homicide, assault, trespass and other charges in the 2010 death of 31-year-old Jason Kemp.

Lawyer and another trooper went to Kemp's home while investigating an accident. Authorities say Kemp wouldn't let them in without a warrant and struggled with the troopers at the door.

An indictment quotes Lawyer as saying he thought Kemp fired a gun at him, so he fired at Kemp.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports State Patrol Sgt. Chad Dunlap testified Thursday that Lawyer repeatedly asked "why?" after the shooting.

Severe thunderstorm produces hen egg-size hail

STERLING (AP) — The National Weather Service says a severe thunderstorm produced destructive hail the size of hen eggs in northeastern Colorado.

The Weather Service said Thursday the storm was in northeastern Logan County near the Nebraska border.

The storm was six miles northeast of Fleming and 24 miles east of Sterling.

A tornado watch has been issued for Logan and eight other counties in eastern Colorado.

Plains, Rockies, Western Slope all in danger of fire

(AP) Fire officials say there is significant fire potential across eastern Colorado's plains, dry Rockies forests and the Western slope due to drought, low humidity and lack of precipitation.

Snowpack is below normal and evaporating faster than usual.

Colorado had a deadly wildfire already last month.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag fire warnings in many parts of the state on an almost routine basis since March 6.

Multiple counties have also enacted open-air fire bans.

Federal meteorologists say nearly all of the Southwest is experiencing drought.

And that's coming off a year in which Arizona and New Mexico experienced their worst wildfires on record.

State Republicans start choosing national delegates

GOLDEN (AP) — Republicans in Colorado held presidential caucuses two months ago — but they're just starting to choose actual delegates to the GOP's nominating convention.

The voting began in Golden Thursday evening. Republicans from the 7th Congressional District chose three delegates, including 2004 Republican Senate candidate Pete Coors, who ran as a pledged delegate for Mitt Romney.

His brother, Joe Coors Jr., was unchallenged for the nod to challenge Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

The rest of Colorado's congressional districts meet on Friday.

Then the full party meets in Denver Saturday to choose 12 statewide delegates.

Man sentenced to nearly 600 years in prison

CASTLE ROCK (AP) — A man convicted of sexually assaulting a child has been sentenced to almost 600 years in prison.

Fifty-seven year old Richard Heeringa was sentenced Thursday to 576 years to life in prison on 17 counts of sexually assaulting a child.

Casimer Spencer, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, says Heeringa declined to address the judge in Douglas County District Court and laughed as his sentence was read.

Heeringa was accused of sexually abusing a girl over a span of three years beginning when she was 12.

His trial was in 2010 but he fled the state just before the jury announced its guilty verdict. He was captured in 2011 while living in Detroit.

Heeringa was apprehended when a resident recognized him from a picture on "America's Most Wanted."

Ex-VP of paving company gets 13-year prison term

BRIGHTON (AP) — The former vice president of a paving company has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after he was convicted in a scam to bill Adams County for road work that was never done.

Fifty-eight-year-old Dennis Coen was sentenced Thursday. He was convicted in January of 62 felonies including theft.

Coen had been an executive of Quality Paving Co. and Quality Resurfacing Co.

The former owner of the companies, 64-year-old Jerry Rhea, was convicted in February on 23 counts.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 26.

Underwear bomber transferred to Supermax prison

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — A Nigerian man who serving a life sentence for trying to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner with 290 people aboard using a bomb sewn into his underwear on Christmas 2009 has been transferred to a higher security prison in Colorado.

The Detroit News reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab now is being held at the Supermax prison, 90 miles south of Denver. Supermax houses some of the country's most notorious criminals.

Abdulmutallab was moved Wednesday. The Bureau of Prisons won't say why it moved him to the 430-inmate facility from a nearby high-security prison.

The 25-year-old Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in October to all charges related to the attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The bomb fizzled and burned his groin.

Denver airport passenger traffic dips in January

DENVER (AP) — Passenger traffic at Denver International Airport declined by less than 1 percentage point in January compared with the same month a year ago.

Airport officials said Thursday that about 3.9 million people passed through the facility in January 2012, down about 23,000 or 0.6 percent from a year earlier.

The airport set a record for total passenger traffic in 2011, nearly 53 million.



In 1860, the Pony Express completed its inaugural run from St. Joseph, Mo. to Sacramento, Calif. in 10 days.


Gazette reporter Matt Steiner is on the police beat Friday, but usually does the general assignment thing. He will be tweeting all day @gazsteiner. Look for Matt as he and The Gazette's Scott Rappold will be working on a series of stories, remembering the Hayman Fire that affected the Front Range 10 years ago.

Follow Matt Steiner on Facebook for his latest stories, some conversation and a place to share your news tips.



-- “Colorado Springs’ Largest Kids’ Gear and Clothing Sale,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Colorado Springs Events Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd., free admission.

-- Yarnettes, 10 a.m., Briargate Branch Library, 9475 Briar Village Point, free.

-- “Geology of the Pikes Peak Region,” program by Steven Veatch, 11 a.m., Old Colorado City History Center, 1 S. 24th St., $2.

-- Storytime, “Arthur Meets the President” by Mark Brown , 10:30 a.m., Barnes & Noble, 795 Citadel Drive East.

-- “Stay and Play Storytime,” children’s program, 10:30 a.m., Fountain Library Branch, 230 S. Main St., Fountain, free.

-- “Let’s Play Chess” children’s program, 3:30-5 p.m., Briargate Branch Library, 9475 Briar Village Point, free.

-- Casablanca, 5-9 p.m., The Sunbird, 230 Point of the Pines Drive.

-- William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” 7 p.m., Coronado High School, 1590 W. Fillmore St., $5.

-- Black Rose Acoustic Society Open Stage, headlined by Steam, 7 p.m., Black Forest community Center, 12530 Black Forest Road, Black Forest, $4-$7.

-- Opera a la Bernstein, 7:30 p.m., Colorado College, Packard Hall, 5 W. Cache La Poudre St., free.

-- “Lantern Parade,” with original lanterns made by local artists and students, 8-10 p.m., Soda Springs Park, 1016 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs.

-- Cirque du’ Deejay, 9 p.m., The Thirsty Parrot, 32 S. Tejon St., no cover.

-- Less Than Zero, 9:30 p.m., SouthSide Johnny’s, 528 S. Tejon St.

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