Shortly after 7:00pm on Wednesday evening, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 2600 Block of El Corona Drive. The victim stated that he left his vehicle unattended for only a few short minutes, leaving the car unlocked with the push button start key fob inside. The victim also reported that their were multiple guns inside the stolen vehicle.
While officers were speaking with the victim, a call came out reporting a crash near the 600 Block of 28 Road. Dispatch was able to confirm that the description of the crashed vehicle matched that of the car stolen from El Corona Drive. Officers responded to the area, and were able to confirm that the cars were one and the same.
A witness stated that he saw a male running from the scene after the crash. A K9 officer with the Fruita Police Department responded and performed a track in an effort to locate the suspect. During the track, a male was found hiding in some bushes. The male was given orders and refused to comply with officers. Due to the possibility of the male being armed with weapons from the stolen vehicle, and his refusal to comply with instructions from officers, the K9 was released. With the help of the K9 partner, officers were able to get the suspect into custody without further incident. The keys to the stolen vehicle were found in the suspect’s pants pocket.
The suspect was identified as 58 year old Gary Johnson of Grand Junction. Johnson was found to have an active warrant for his arrest for failure to comply on a felony DUI charge. Johnson’s driving privileges were revoked due to three prior alcohol convictions.
While en route to the Mesa County Jail, Johnson stated that the only reason he stole the vehicle was because he missed the bus while trying to get to a friend’s house.
Johnson was booked into the Mesa County Jail on charges of 1st Degree Motor Vehicle Theft, Driving While Restrained, and Obstructing Police.
We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners at the Fruita Police Department for their assistance in this case. We are fortunate to have great, collaborative public safety relationships in Mesa County.
Please remember to keep your doors locked and your keys with you whenever you are away from your vehicle. No one deserves to be a victim of a crime of opportunity.
The Grand Junction Police Department is pleased to recognize our 2016 Employee of the Year, Jeremy Duncan.
Jeremy is an Application Analyst for the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center, and has served in that capacity for over 11 years. Jeremy is responsible for the maintenance of the 911 telephone system, the public safety dispatching system, the emergency notification system, the 911 recording system, the radio system, and countless other applications that are critical to the job performance functions of our 911 telecommunicators.
Jeremy has been instrumental in a multi-year project to upgrade our computer aided dispatch software. Jeremy’s comprehensive understanding of the operations of the Communication Center, as well as his knowledge of how each of the 23 agencies prefer to be dispatched, meant that he was able to lead the build team to configure the system to best meets everyone’s needs. This was a fluid process, involving multiple changes and adjustments along the way, and Jeremy was consistently able to adapt to whatever was asked of him.
As if that weren’t enough, Jeremy spent hundreds of hours building, configuring, and testing a very complex upgrade to our public safety software suite, which includes systems required for the maintenance of all criminal justice records managed by our agency’s multiple departments. With the help of other IT analysts in the City, we were able to successfully go live with this upgrade in September of this year.
“Jeremy is great resource to our public safety community,” says Grand Junction Police Department Project Manager, Paula Creasy. “Jeremy is constantly called upon to solve technical problems, or to create a new way of doing something. Because of his innate ability to figure out solutions, Jeremy has become a resource not only to the Communication Center, but to public safety agencies all over Mesa County.”
Jeremy is a great example of the many employees at the Grand Junction Police Department who do the “behind the scenes” work to keep our agency running smoothly. Jeremy is a pleasure to work with, and we’re proud to count him among our ranks.
The Grand Junction Police Department has made an arrest in the homicide of 20 year old Caleb Fettig, which occurred on Monday, December 5th.
Throughout the course of the investigation, detectives with the GJPD were able to identify a suspect and obtain an arrest warrant for 21 year old Terrence Richardson. Today, shortly after 1:00pm, Richardson was contacted in the 2800 Block of Belford Avenue, and was arrested without incident. Richardson is being held at the Mesa County Jail for 2nd Degree Murder. The arrest warrant for Richardson remains sealed by the Court, and no additional details regarding the circumstances of his involvement in this case are available at this time.
The investigation into this incident remains active and ongoing. We will release additional information as it becomes available.
Shortly after 3:00pm on Monday afternoon, a reporting party called 911 and stated that there was a man with blood on his face laying outside in the A&W Mobile Home Park at 2837 North Avenue. The reporting party believed the male was dead. Law enforcement and medical personnel arrived on scene and confirmed that the male was deceased.
The Mesa County Coroner has identified the victim as 20 year old Caleb “Clifford” Fettig. The Coroner determined the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds, and the manner of death, a homicide. The Coroner’s report is attached here.
The investigation into this case is active and ongoing. Anyone who may have any information that could be helpful in this investigation is urged to contact the Grand Junction Police Department at (970)242-6707, reference case number 16-74550. If you wish to remain anonymous, please call Mesa County Crime Stoppers at (970)241-STOP.
A couple of years ago, on a Friday afternoon, I got a phone call from my husband while I was at work.
“My debit card got declined.”
He was at the grocery store, with our two young children, buying just over $8 in produce.
My husband and I both work full time, and we try to be judicious with our funds…see above reference to two young children. I immediately got online to check our bank accounts, and discovered that they had been cleaned out—both checking and savings. There were various charges, all out of state or to online retailers we’d never heard of. It was devastating. It was late Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend, and we knew that there was no chance of getting this cleared up with our credit union until the following week. Like so many families, we had allowed ourselves to become completely dependent on our debit cards, so we had little to no cash to last us through the weekend. Because we don’t have credit cards, it was an incredibly vulnerable feeling to think that we didn’t have money for gas in our cars or a gallon of milk over the next few days. It was a startling violation to be robbed of resources for which we both worked hard.
It had a lasting impact on our kids, too. Our son, who was six at the time, still references the generous woman behind them in line who insisted on paying for that $8 in produce. On the off chance that she’s reading this, please know that we have paid it forward.
Here are a few valuable tips to keep your bank accounts protected as we head into the holiday shopping season:
- Protect yourself from electronic pickpocketing. The same technology that allows consumers to make convenient purchases with their credit or debit card can also enable a thief to steal information and make purchases on your accounts. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allows “contactless payment” for purchasers, forgoing the usual swipe, processing, receipt, and signature for standard electronic transactions. With the right equipment, thieves can access your card information without a direct line of sight from up to 100 meters away, simply by being in your vicinity. Consider purchasing a wallet or sleeve that blocks RFID scanner waves. They are affordable and reliable, and are sold by multiple vendors.
- If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or friend desperate for money, or perhaps a charity seeking funds for a cause near and dear to your heart, resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story. Hang up and check out the story or organization by talking with family and friends, or doing research online. NEVER wire money before confirming all the details with trusted advisors. Remember, in this age of technology and social media, it can be easy for motivated thieves to find details about your life, and they will play on your emotions.
- We all want the lowest price possible on our holiday purchases, but not at the expense of a costly scam. When shopping online, transact business with well-known sites and retailers, and look for an “https” at the beginning of the web address. That “s” means the site uses an encrypted connection, which will help protect your financial information.
- Have you heard the term “porch pirates”? This refers to the unsavory criminals that follow delivery trucks, hoping to snag packages from your front porch before you know they’ve been delivered. If you’re ordering items online, have them shipped to a trusted neighbor who will be home to accept the delivery, or ask the company to hold the package at their delivery center for you to pick up. Request that your package be marked “signature required,” or add special delivery instructions to have the package left out of sight, such as behind a gate or at your back door.
- As always, don’t leave valuable items inside your vehicle. Although the trunk of your car may seem like a good place to hide gifts from Santa, there are plenty of “Grinches” out there that would love to access your vehicle and help themselves to the treasures tucked away inside.
As we enter into the busy holiday season this week, we wish all of you safe and peaceful celebrations with your loved ones.
We are now able to release the identities of the subjects involved in the officer involved shooting incident that took place shortly after midnight on Friday, November 11. The Mesa County Coroner has completed the next of kin notifications to the family of the deceased. The release from the Coroner’s office is attached here.
The suspect in this case has been identified as Brian Gaither, age 24, of Grand Junction. At the time of this incident, Gaither had two active warrants for his arrest, one of which stemmed from a parole violation. The second warrant resulted from a traffic stop by the Grand Junction Police Department on November 7th. During the November 7th incident, Gaither fled from the scene of the stop, with a handgun observed in plain sight in the vehicle he was driving. Charges stemming from that incident include Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, Obstructing a Peace Officer, and Reckless Driving, among others. There were no other suspects involved in the events of Friday, November 11.
The officer involved in the shooting is Officer Jacob Steele. Officer Steele has worked for the Grand Junction Police Department since 2008, beginning his career as a civilian police service technician, before earning his POST certification and becoming a police officer in 2010. Jake is an instructor for defensive tactics and de-escalation techniques, and he also teaches arrest control tactics at the Western Colorado Community College POST Academy. During this incident, Jake sustained injuries to his leg, for which he was treated at the hospital, and released hours later.
Officer Steele remains on administrative leave during the internal investigation of this incident, which is standard protocol in these types of events. No other officers were involved in this incident. The criminal investigation by the multi-jurisdictional Critical Incident Response Team is ongoing.
Following are some limited details about the officer involved shooting that occurred in the early morning hours today. The investigation into the circumstances surrounding these events is still very active. As the investigation unfolds, additional information will be discovered and more details will reveal themselves. As with any complex investigation such as this one, information is likely to change.
Preliminary investigation indicates that an officer with the Grand Junction Police Department initiated contact with a suspicious vehicle in the area of S. 9th Street and Pitkin Avenue shortly after midnight. The officer believed the vehicle was involved in a prior weapons violation with a known suspect. Within moments of the initial contact, the officer requested emergency back up to his location. Moments after that, the same officer aired “shots fired,” and requested an ambulance to respond. Back up officers arrived on scene within minutes of the initial call, and found the officer pinned between a vehicle and a building on Pitkin Avenue. Officers had to break a window in the vehicle in order to move the vehicle and free the officer from his position. Medical personnel arrived on scene and determined that the male suspect, who was seated in the driver’s seat of the vehicle with apparent gunshot wounds, was deceased. The officer was transported to the hospital for treatment, and he has since been released. A handgun was recovered from inside of the suspect’s vehicle.
The officer involved in this incident has worked for the Grand Junction Police Department since 2008.
The criminal investigation into this matter will be handled by the multi-jurisdictional 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, which is comprised of representatives of local and state law enforcement agencies. The findings of that investigation will ultimately be forwarded to the District Attorney for final review and determination of lawfulness. Concurrently, an internal investigation will take place by the Grand Junction Police Department. The officer will remain on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the internal investigation.
The CIRT team will also be working closely with the Mesa County Coroner to notify next of kin of the deceased, as well as to determine the manner and cause of death. Notification of the identity of the deceased will be released by the Coroner’s office in the coming days, once appropriate notifications have been made.
No further information is anticipated to be released until early next week.