The Hi-Point 9 mm pistol suspected car thief Manuel Zetina used in the Feb. 5 killing of El Paso County sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick had been used in another crime a year earlier, according to investigative records released by Colorado Springs police.
Forensics connected the handgun to the one used by a then 20-year-old Ontony Albert Hatcher on March 12, 2017, in a shooting off Hammock Drive North. Hatcher would eventually be convicted of felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon.
But how did Zetina get the gun?
Police traced the gun back to its origin to try to piece together its ownership. According to records, they learned:
A Pueblo woman had bought the gun from the Big R of Pueblo for her ex-boyfriend in January 2008. She said it was a Valentine’s Day present, but he considered the gun cheap and sold it three years later.
The woman said her ex sold it to friends, a couple who she kept in contact with despite marrying a different person. When police talked to that couple, they denied meeting the woman’s ex and said they’d only known the woman for a few years.
The man called the woman to confront her about saying the gun was sold to him, but police believe the woman feigned a faulty connection and hung up. Subsequent attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.
The man told police “he believed that they just needed somebody’s name to say who they sold the gun to and so they said it was him.”
Somehow, the gun eventually came to Hatcher, who used it in 2017, but he didn’t want to explain what happened to it after.
During the Feb. 5 shooting, Hatcher was in jail on an unrelated attempted robbery charge, for which he would later plead guilty, online criminal records show. Police asked him in jail what he did with the gun in 2017, but Hatcher refused to cooperate, fearing he’d “catch new charges.”
Records show that Hatcher and Zetina have tattoos of three dots on their left wrists, a sign worn “to show allegiance to, or membership in, a Hispanic gang, particularly Sureños.” Police later reported Zetina was a known member of the South Side Soldados gang or “Triple S,” and went by the gang moniker “Grumpy.”
“It is unknown at this time how the firearm was transferred from Mr. Hatcher … to Mr. Zetina,” the report said.
A longtime friend of Zetina, Justin Wade, offered some clue when messages between him and his wife were turned over to police showing he sold the gun to Zetina at some undetermined point in the past, but that lead, too, went cold.
As Wade was jailed on warrants related to allegations of eluding and stealing a 1992 Toyota Corolla, officers interviewed him, but did not ask about the Facebook message or about selling the gun to Zetina, a summary of the conversation showed.
Officers did ask if Wade knew Zetina to carry weapons but Wade said they didn’t talk about that stuff.
Another of Zetina’s friends, Phillip Kopf, who had been helping Zetina spray paint the stolen car blue earlier on Feb. 5, said he’d seen his friend carrying the same gun three weeks earlier.
Zetina always carried a gun, Kopf said, particularly at that time in February because “someone was trying to get” him and he “needed to ‘stay protected,’ ” the report said.