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A Love Letter to Our Officers #GVCopBeat

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Police ValentineWhat a perfect day to show a little love to the men and women who serve with this agency.

About a month ago, we responded to a report of a subject with a gun at Grand Junction High School. More information on that incident can be found here. We think it’s important to note that these incidents don’t happen in a vacuum; when it comes to any critical incident response—especially something as important as a safety threat to one of our schools—we evaluate our response. We are self-critical. What could we do better? Different? What’s working? What isn’t?

Today, one of our detectives, Cody Kennedy, shared this email, after a detailed review of this particular incident. He took the opportunity to commend the response of two officers, in particular; Officer Jeff DeBellevue and GJHS School Resource Officer Tim Litzau. Cody shared the following:

“I was on duty when the call came out and I responded to the High School.  While en route I heard Officer DeBellevue call out a foot pursuit with the person that was found to be our suspect.  Due to his prompt response and high awareness he spotted the subject as he slipped from the school out a side door.  Officer DeBellevue recognized the subject matched the description, called out the contact and pursued the suspect on foot.  Due to this the suspect was taken into custody within a short time of the initial 911 call.  And by short time I mean seven minutes!  

 Also noteworthy is the fact that SRO Officer Litzau was within arm’s reach of the suspect, inside the school, within about two minutes of the initial 911 call.  I learned this as I reviewed security video from the school that showed our suspect leaning against a wall with the very realistic looking 1911 style BB gun hidden in his waistband.  Officer Litzau had responded to this area based on the dispatched information and was clearly urging kids to seek shelter (lockdown) and looking for the suspect.  

 Had this been the call we feared it was I am confident either Officer DeBellevue or Officer Litzau would have confronted the subject and stopped the threat.  As a patrol tactics instructor I recognize and applaud their initiative to go right in on their own to face the danger and protect kids with a solo response.  As a community member and father of high school age children I am grateful for their response.   

 I acknowledge that this is what we’re trained to do.  In fact, I have spoken to both Officer DeBellevue and Officer Litzau and they both responded along those lines.  As cops we expect we may have to do this but these guys both responded in a selfless way to protect kids and I think this deserves recognition.”  

 We couldn’t agree more with Cody’s assessment. Our officers do what they’re trained to do, and without desire of recognition. But today is all about love, and we’re glad to recognize the good work of Officers Litzau and DeBellevue, and all of our staff at the Grand Junction Police Department.

Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week #GVCopBeat

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Crime Stoppers needs your help to identify and locate the suspects involved in criminal activity.

Sometime between 11 p.m. on Friday, February 1st and 5 a.m. on Saturday, February 2nd, unknown suspects forced entry into a locked vehicle parked in the 2800 block of Village Park Drive. Later that day, credit cards taken from the victim’s wallet were used by a male subject at City Market, Redbox, Safeway and Walmart. Security cameras captured a white male 20-30 years old, average height, with a thin build and mustache wearing a gray beanie with a two-toned gray hoodie. The suspect was last seen leaving in a red Nissan Juke type SUV. A photo of the suspect can be viewed at http://www.241stop.com.

If you know the identity or whereabouts the suspects involved in this crime, please contact Crime Stoppers at 241-7867. Information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest can earn you up to $1,000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous. For more information, see us at http://www.241stop.com.

GJPD PD# 2019-6134

Arrests Made in Series of Robberies #GVCopBeat

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img_2299-5Early this morning, at approximately 3:00am, officers were dispatched to a robbery that had just occurred in the parking lot of a business in the 2400 Block of North Avenue. The victim stated that he was approached by two males who displayed a weapon, demanded his wallet, and struck him the back of the head before leaving the area in a dark colored sedan. The victim did not suffer serious injury.

While officers were searching the area for the suspects, a Dodge Charger was observed in the parking lot of Columbine Park, located at 540 28 ¼ Road. All occupants were contacted and detained while officers investigated.

Through the course of interviews with the detained subjects, it was determined that they were, in fact, the suspects involved in the attempted robbery on North Avenue, and they were placed into custody. Through continued interviews, it was revealed that these same suspects were involved in two robberies that were reported yesterday morning. Information on those crimes can be found here.

Ultimately, Gabriel Suarez, age 19, of Grand Junction, was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Detention Facility for charges of Felony Menacing (F5), Aggravated Robbery (F3), Assault in the Third Degree (M1), Theft (M3). Criminal Attempt (F4), and Tampering with Physical Evidence (F6).

An additional juvenile male, age 17, was remanded to the custody of the Department of Youth Corrections for all of the above charges, as well as an unrelated warrant.

Two Early Morning Robberies Under Investigation #GVCopBeat

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img_2299-5Shortly before 5:30 this morning, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a reported robbery in progress. The reporting party called 9-1-1 and stated that her 15-year-old son was waiting at the bus stop near Independent Avenue and Poplar Street when he was approached by two male suspects in a dark colored sedan. The suspects displayed a handgun and demanded the victim’s backpack. The victim gave them his backpack and the suspects left.

While detectives were investigating this report, they were contacted by an officer with the Fruita Police Department who reported that a second victim had reported a similar incident from this morning. The victim stated that, while waiting for a bus near 24 ½ Road and Brookwillow, he was approached by a dark colored sedan occupied by two males who demanded his backpack. The victim ran away, and the vehicle left the scene.

If anyone has any information about either of these incidents, or if you have security cameras that may have captured these events, please contact Crime Stoppers of Mesa County. You can remain anonymous and, if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a reward of up to $1000.

Man Arrested for Felony Damage to Golf Course #GVCopBeat

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img_2299-5Shortly before 5:00am today, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a reported hit and run crash in the 200 Block of Mountain View Street. Upon arrival, officers discovered that a vehicle had driven onto private property in that area, striking and damaging a fence, and then proceeded to “spin donuts,” or drive recklessly in repeated circles, causing damage to the landscaping in the yard. The vehicle also struck and damaged a guideline to an electrical pole located on the property. The vehicle was no longer on scene when officers arrived, but they were able to locate a license plate that had been left behind.

Just a few minutes later, officers were dispatched to a vandalism in progress, occurring at the Lincoln Park Golf Course. A witness reported that a white vehicle was currently on the course, spinning donuts. Officers arrived on scene and witnessed the vehicle driving on the golf course. When the vehicle exited the golf course, an officer attempted to stop the car, but the driver fled at a high rate of speed, nearly causing a collision with a passing vehicle on N. 12th Street. Ultimately, the driver of the car stopped near N. 10th Street and Teller Avenue. It was determined that this was the same vehicle that was involved in the hit and run crash on Mountain View.

The driver of the vehicle, Jacob Hunger, 22, of Grand Junction, was arrested for Felony Eluding (F5), Criminal Mischief (F6), DUI, Reckless Driving, No Proof of Insurance, Open Alcohol Container, Open Marijuana Container, Failure to Notify Police of an Accident, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. Hunger was remanded to the Mesa County Detention Facility.

Crime of the Week #MCCrimeStoppers #GVCopBeat

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The Grand Junction Police Department needs your help to identify a male suspect that is wanted for harassment.

On Wednesday, January 2nd , an unknown male placed a malicious classified ad in “The Nickel” stating the victim’s house was “For Sale by Owner.” Security cameras capture a white male in his 50’s with a gray beard and last seen wearing a dark colored coat, blue jeans and a baseball cap. The surveillance photo of the suspect can be viewed at http://www.241stop.com.

If you know the identity or location of the suspect involved in this crime, please contact Crime Stoppers at 241-7867. Information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest can earn you up to $1,000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous. For more information, see us at http://www.241stop.com.

GJPD# 2019-80000019

Arrest Made for Weapons Violation at High School #GVCopBeat

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img_2299-5Earlier today, law enforcement from all over Mesa County responded to a report of a person with a gun at Grand Junction High School.  The suspect, a 17 year old male, was quickly detained and was transported to the Grand Junction Police Department as the investigation into the incident continued.  The suspect in this case has since been arrested and transported to the Department of Youth Corrections for the following crimes: Felony Menacing (F5), Unlawfully Carrying/Possessing a Weapon on School, College, or University Grounds (F6), Inciting Destruction of Life or Property (F6), Possession of Handguns by Juveniles (M2), Obstructing a Peace Officer (M2), Interference of Staff, Faculty, or Students of Educational Institutions (M3), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Less than 2 oz of Marijuana.

The juvenile suspect in this case will be not be identified in accordance with the Colorado Open Records Act.  He is not a student at GJHS.

An earlier release regarding this incident follows below.

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At 11:20am today, a reporting party called 911, stating that there was a male in the parking lot of Grand Junction High School with a gun. The school was placed into lockdown and law enforcement with the Grand Junction Police Department, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and Colorado State Patrol responded to the area immediately, along with School District safety personnel. West Middle School and Colorado Mesa University, including Little Mavs Daycare, were placed into lockdown, and Tope Elementary was put in shelter in place, due to their proximity to the location of the incident.

Arriving officers located a subject matching the description of the suspect running on foot from the area. The suspect was located in a nearby alley and detained approximately seven minutes after the initial call came in. The gun, which the suspect had dropped during the foot pursuit, was located and was found to be a BB gun replicated to look like a real handgun. Once the suspect was detained, all schools were released and began the transition back to normal operations. The suspect, a juvenile male, was transported to the Grand Junction Police Department. This investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made at this time.

Parents, lockdowns can be scary. Please be sure to talk with your students about what they might have experienced today. A school safety video that shows what happens when a school is placed in lockdown or shelter in place can be found here.