The Grand Junction Police Department is identifying the officer who discharged his weapon in the officer-involved shooting that occurred on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
Officer Zach Diaz is a patrol officer who started with our agency in 2017. Prior to his employment with our department, Officer Diaz served as a POST certified campus safety officer at Colorado Mesa University for two years.
As is standard protocol with any officer involved shooting, Officer Diaz is currently on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, which takes place separately from the criminal investigation being conducted by the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team. This incident remains under investigation by CIRT. Information previously released regarding this incident can be found here.
At approximately 12:17pm on Thursday, February 6th, a reporting party called 9-1-1 and stated that they went into a business at 2050 North Avenue and discovered an unresponsive female with obvious injuries. The reporting party immediately exited the building and called law enforcement. Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the scene within minutes and located a deceased adult female inside the business.
Officers quickly established a perimeter around the building and shut down westbound traffic on North Avenue from N. 18th Street to N. 23rd Street. Surrounding buildings were contacted to inquire about video footage that may have been captured and a K9 team was called out to aid in the investigation.
Video cameras in the area captured images of a person of interest, pictured below, in the area of the business shortly before the reporting party called 9-1-1. Law enforcement would like to identify and speak with this person, as we believe they may have information about this incident. If you recognize this person, or have any information that could aid in this investigation, you are urged to contact us at 970.242.6707. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can also contact Crime Stoppers of Mesa County at 970.241.STOP, or via www.241STOP.com.
Additionally, we are seeking evidence that may have been captured from video doorbells or home security cameras. If you live in the area of N. 15th Street to N. 23rd Street, between North Avenue and Orchard Avenue, and you have potential video evidence from Thursday, February 6th, between the hours of 10:00am to 12:00pm, please contact the Grand Junction Police Department at 970.242.6707.
The Mesa County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for releasing the manner and cause of death, as well as releasing the identity of the victim after appropriate notifications have been made.
On Sunday, February 2, 2020, shortly after 8:30pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to the TA Express truck stop at 2222 Highway 6 & 50 on a report of a shooting that had just occurred. Information provided to dispatch indicated that there was a male subject on the ground in the parking lot, and a second male was also injured. Upon arrival, officers located one adult male with multiple apparent gunshot wounds. Despite rescue efforts, the male was pronounced deceased at the scene. A second adult male was also contacted at the scene with an apparent gunshot wound to his leg. That male was transported to the hospital by medical personnel with the Grand Junction Fire Department. His injuries were serious, but he is expected to survive.
The business and the surrounding area were quickly locked down, and a large presence of law enforcement responded, including personnel with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol. A perimeter was set up, the scene was secured, and witnesses were interviewed. A suspect was not located at the scene.
Shortly before 10:00pm, officers with the Fruita Police Department were dispatched to a residence in the 400 Block of Birchwood Street, where they contacted a male who was ultimately determined to be the suspect in the shooting incident.
Christopher Rizo, 29, of Grand Junction, was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Detention Facility for charges of Murder in the First Degree (F1), Attempted Murder in the First Degree (F2), Tampering with Physical Evidence (F6), two counts of Aggravated Robbery (F3), two counts of 2nd Degree Kidnapping (F2), and two counts of Menacing (F5). The affidavit in this case is currently sealed. We are not releasing the booking photo of the suspect at this time as this investigation is ongoing and detectives continue to interview witnesses. We are not seeking any additional suspects in this incident.
The Mesa County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for releasing the identity of the deceased victim in this case.
At approximately 3:42pm today, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to the Wells Fargo Bank at 28 Road and North Avenue on reports of a robbery in progress. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived.
Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department immediately searched the area. The suspect has not yet been located. Suspect is described as a white male, last seen wearing a Boston Red Sox baseball cap, dark sunglasses, a tan winter jacket, and has a light colored goatee. The investigation is ongoing and the scene is still being processed. If anyone has information about this suspect, they can call Crime Stoppers at 241-STOP, send the information via the web at Crime Stoppers of Mesa County, or text CRIMES to 241STOP and include your tip information.
UPDATE 1/11/2020 7:47pm: The suspect in this case has been contacted by law enforcement officials in Carlsbad, New Mexico and is currently in custody. The stolen vehicle has not been located. We appreciate everyone who shared this information and called in tips.
On Friday, January 10, 2020, at approximately 11:39pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to the area of 25 Road and G Road on a report of a car crash. A witness stated that a female had jumped from the driver’s seat of a white SUV and the vehicle had subsequently crashed into a fence in the area. The female fled on foot. The witness stated that there was a male passenger in the vehicle as well. By the time officers arrived on scene minutes later, the male passenger and vehicle were no longer in the area.
While officers were speaking with the witness on scene, they were approached by a female who stated that she was the original driver of the crashed vehicle. The victim stated that she was an Uber driver and had picked up a male passenger from an address in Fruita who hired her to take him downtown. During the transport, the male reportedly brandished a gun and demanded the driver take him to the desert. The victim ultimately jumped from the vehicle while it was in motion to escape the suspect, and the suspect fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle. Medical personnel evaluated the female victim on scene, who suffered only minor injuries.
Through investigation, officers and detectives with the Grand Junction Police Department have identified the suspect in this case as Adam Salaz, 23, of Grand Junction. Neither Salaz nor the vehicle have been located at this time, and an arrest warrant for charges including kidnapping and theft has been issued for Salaz.
Anyone with information on this case or the possible location of Salaz or the stolen vehicle is urged to call 9-1-1. A previous booking photo of Salaz is included. He is described as 6’1″, 135 lbs, with brown “poofy” hair and brown eyes. The vehicle is a 2019 white Toyota CHR, with Colorado license plate ABJL93.
Salaz is considered armed and dangerous. If you see him or know his whereabouts, do not attempt to make contact with him; call 9-1-1. Further information will be released as it becomes available.
On Monday, December 30, 2019, emergency personnel were dispatched to 715 Struthers Avenue on a report of an unresponsive male found in the restrooms. Upon arrival, the victim, identified as Jose Phillip Gallegos, 31, of Grand Junction, was found deceased. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office determined the manner and cause of death to be homicide as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.
The investigation into this incident led by detectives with the Grand Junction Police Department has resulted in the arrest of Joshua Baltazar Gallegos, 23, of Fruita. Gallegos, who is currently in the custody of another law enforcement agency on unrelated charges, is facing charges of:
- Murder in the Second Degree (F3)
- Assault in the First Degree (F3)
- Possession of Weapons by a Previous Offender (F6)
- Tampering with Physical Evidence (F6)
- Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (DF4)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Gallegos remains in the custody of the La Plata County Detention Facility, pending extradition to Mesa County. No details on that time frame are available at this time. A recent booking photo for Gallegos is attached.