Man fatally shot near Ignacio

Southern Ute Tribal Police officers search a utility building for a shooting suspect at a gas industrial site east of Bondad Hill on Tuesday afternoon. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Southern Ute Tribal Police officers search a utility building for a shooting suspect at a gas industrial site east of Bondad Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

IGNACIO – Authorities were searching Tuesday night for a man suspected of shooting and killing another man on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

The incident occurred about 4:10 p.m. in the 200 block of Mountain Dew Circle, southwest of Ignacio in the Cedar Point Ute West subdivision.

The victim, described as being in his 30s, appears to have died from multiple gunshot wounds, said Dan Bender, spokesman for the La Plata County Sheriff's Office.

The suspect was described to be in his early to mid-20s; about 5 feet 6 inches tall; dark in complexion; with a buzzed haircut; a large tattoo on his right hand; and a sparse goatee – sometimes called a soul patch, Bender said.

He may have been wearing a dark-colored jacket with leather sleeves, similar to a letterman jacket.

Neighbors reported seeing a blue pickup pull up to the house Tuesday afternoon, Bender said. Two men got out of the truck and went inside the house, neighbors told authorities.

“(Neighbors) heard loud pops, and they saw the victim exit the house and collapse outside,” Bender said. “They saw the vehicle and two subjects leaving.”

Neighbors described the truck as a blue Chevy S-10 pickup with New Mexico license plates, he said.

An officer with the Southern Ute Police Department located a pickup matching that description but lost sight of it, Bender said.

A short time later, a Sheriff's Office deputy located the vehicle parked on the side of the road in the 6000 block of U.S. Highway 550, north of Bondad, he said.

A man in the driver's seat was arrested without incident and taken to the Southern Ute Police Department station to be interviewed by police.

The man, whose name was not being released Tuesday night, told authorities he picked up a hitchhiker and drove him to the 200 block of Mountain Dew Circle, Bender said.

The driver told authorities the hitchhiker opened fire on a man inside the house, using two handguns, Bender said.

The shooter demanded to be driven away, and he complied, the driver told authorities.

The driver was being detained Tuesday night because the interview process had not been completed, Bender said. He described the man as a “witness,” not a suspect.

“He claims he gave the shooter a ride,” Bender said.

Authorities continued to search for the missing suspect along County Road 318, which runs east and west, west of Ignacio.

The driver told investigators he dropped off the shooting suspect somewhere along County Road 318, on the end that is closest to Ignacio, the eastern portion of the road.

Authorities did most of their search on the western end of County Road 318, because they hadn't yet received the driver's information.

Multiple agencies were involved, including the FBI, Southern Ute Police Department and Los Pinos Fire Protection District.

The shooting death occurred on the reservation, but the victim did not meet the criteria to be considered a Native American, Bender said.

The Sheriff's Office was therefore overseeing the investigation.

Anyone with information about the shooting death is asked to call La Plata County Sheriff's Office Investigator Dan Patterson at 382-7015.

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