Two young males are in custody after setting a series of fires early this morning.
At around 3:30am, personnel with the Grand Junction Police Department and the Grand Junction Fire Department were dispatched to a report of a vehicle in flames in the parking lot of the North Avenue Wal-Mart. It was later discovered that the suspects had thrown a sparkler into a van that was parked in the parking lot. The van caught fire and was fully engulfed. The van was occupied by a male sleeping inside, who was able to escape the burning vehicle with minor injuries, and the Fire Department extinguished the fire without further property damage.
From there, the males made their way down North Avenue, continuing to set off fireworks and intentionally starting, or attempting to start, several vehicles on fire along the way. The males also set fire to the wooden steps of an apartment building in the 1300 Block of N. 25th Street, causing damage to the building.
Using witness descriptions and surveillance footage, the two males were contacted in the area of the fires and positively identified as the suspects. Both are charged with numerous offenses, including four counts of 2nd Degree Arson, one count of 2nd Degree Assault, and one count of attempted 1st Degree Arson. The males, who are 17 and 18 years old, were remanded to the Department of Youth Corrections and the Mesa County Jail, respectively.
Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to a report of a purse that was stolen from the victim in the area of 1st Street and Walnut Avenue shortly after 11:00a.m. today. A witness followed the suspect, who ran towards the area of Sherwood Park and eventually dropped the purse. In an effort to evade law enforcement, the suspect jumped several fences into private property, but was ultimately taken into custody within 15 minutes of the initial call and was transported to the Mesa County Jail for several charges, including robbery and trespass.
Later this afternoon, in an unrelated incident, a woman called 911 to report that an unknown male was inside her home in the area of 26th Street and Hill Avenue. The resident was hiding in the bathroom, but was able to hear the male moving around in the home. Officers responded to the area and set up a perimeter. As officers were preparing to force entry into the home, the male suspect voluntarily exited the home and was taken into custody without further incident. The male has been transported to the Mesa County Jail and will be charged with burglary, among other charges.
Yesterday, shortly before 3pm, reports of a head-on collision on I-70 began flooding our 911 call center. Thus far, the investigation into the crash has revealed that a passenger car, driven by an adult male, was going westbound in the eastbound lanes of the interstate, near the 27 Road bridge, when it collided with an SUV, driven by an adult female, with a juvenile female passenger. All three involved parties were seriously injured. No arrests have been made at this time, but as the investigation unfolds, charges could be forthcoming.
Those are the facts of this investigation as it stands right now. Our thoughts are certainly with those who were injured as a result of this scary collision. However, what we want to do today is acknowledge the incredible acts of kindness and service displayed by people who witnessed this crash and rushed to the aid of the victims. Below is an email that was sent out by one of the Grand Junction Police Department officers who responded to this crash:
“On 06/20/17 we responded to a head-on collision on I70 near the 27 Road overpass. It was reported one of the vehicles had ignited. When I arrived, a male was trapped in a Honda Accord near the median and a Ford sport utility vehicle in the eastbound lanes was fully engulfed. The fire quickly spread to the adjacent shoulder of the Interstate and began climbing the embankment toward homes on Marsh Lane and Continental Court.
Over a dozen motorists had stopped and extricated an adult female and juvenile (perhaps 5-7 years old) from the SUV and carried the woman to the shoulder of the roadway. The SUV was emitting loud “booming” and “popping” noises and I believe nearly everyone at the scene thought it could very well explode. The bystanders placed the female onto a tarp someone had provided and carried her westbound along the highway, away from the vehicle. Others stood with another tarp elevated over the female to shade her from the sun; temperatures were near 100 degrees. A nurse who had stopped placed the juvenile in her personal vehicle and remained with the child until EMS arrived. Had these individuals not acted so immediately and decisively, both the woman and her child would have surely perished.
I was later repositioned to 27 Road to conduct traffic control. I spoke with two males who had stopped on 27 Road to the north of I70 when they saw the fire on the southern embankment. The males had climbed numerous fences on the south side of I70 in an attempt to slow the fire and warn residents. I also spoke with others who had thrown buckets of water on the fire as well as some who used personal extinguishers in attempts to prevent the fire from threatening homes and property.
The overall response from bystanders was, I thought, magnificent. I regret that I was not able to obtain the names of all of those who provided assistance in this event. I was hoping, either through social media or mass communication, the Grand Junction Police Department could make an attempt to recognize and thank all of those who rendered their help in any way they could with this incident.”
Additionally, we were made aware this morning that the only possession that made it out of the vehicle with the juvenile female was a pink blanket. The blanket was wet and dirty from the crash. It was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital, where the staff there saw to it that is was laundered, so that the little girl could have that small piece of comfort.
We don’t know the names of all of those who stopped to help after this crash. We don’t know if they were local community members, or simply traveling through. What we do know is that, without the aid of these brave and selfless people, the outcome of this tragic incident could have been much different. If this message reaches any of you, please know that you have our gratitude and admiration.
The Grand Junction Police Department is seeking help from the community in locating a missing person.
Britnie Griffith is a 26 year old white female who was last heard from early Thursday morning. Britnie is 5’8″, 110 pounds, with black hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a maroon tank top, black yoga pants with a zebra print pattern on the waistband, and flip flop shoes. The vehicle that Britnie was last known to be driving was found unattended in the area of Eagle Rim Park on Orchard Mesa late last night.
Britnie made some concerning statements to family members before she went missing and we want to contact her to check her welfare. If anyone contacts Britnie, or has any information regarding her possible whereabouts, please call non-emergency dispatch at (970)242-6707.
Shortly after 11:00pm on Saturday night, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to 2754 Unaweep Avenue on a report of an assault in progress. Upon arrival, officers located two adult male victims with stab wounds to their torsos, as well as another adult male, later identified as John Siviter, 62, who was shouting profanities and asking the male victims if they were dead yet. While he was being detained, an empty knife sheath was located on Siviter’s waist band, matching the brand and shape of one of two knives that were found on scene.
Siviter was transported to the hospital to be medically cleared. During an interview with GJPD personnel, Siviter stated he was trying to “kill everyone” because they were running their mouths.
When interviewed, both victims said that the three men were at the residence when an argument took place. Siviter retrieved a knife and attacked one of the males, and the other male jumped in to stop the attack. Both victims were stabbed in the process. Siviter then retrieved an additional knife, and also made threats to go get a gun. Both males victims were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
After receiving medical clearance, Siviter was remanded to the Mesa County Jail on two charges of Criminal Attempt to Commit First Degree Murder (F2) and one charge of Felony Menacing (F5).
“Had it not been for your awareness and quick actions, this incident could have ended in a very tragic way.”
Those words were included in a letter of appreciation that was read at the Law Enforcement Latino Alliance meeting on Tuesday afternoon, in recognition of the heroic actions of Ms. Guadalupe Gomez.
In the early morning hours of May 7th, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a hotel on Horizon Drive, in reference to a three year old child who was found in the indoor pool. Further investigation revealed that Ms. Gomez, an employee of the hotel, pulled the drowning child from the water, after hearing what sounded like screaming coming from the area. Because the courtyard to the pool was locked, Ms. Gomez had to climb over a three foot wall into a planter in order to access the pool. Due to the quick and decisive actions of Ms. Gomez, the child made a full recovery.
Chief Camper was honored to recognize and thank Ms. Gomez on behalf of the Grand Junction Police Department for her commendable efforts, which ultimately saved the life of this young child.
Thank you, Ms. Gomez!
A lengthy investigation, conducted by the Western Colorado Drug Task Force (comprised of investigators with the Grand Junction Police Department and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office), the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, culminated in the arrest of four subjects yesterday. Throughout the course of the investigation, approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine was seized, as well as several firearms, some of which were reported stolen.