Pagosa standoff ends with arrest

59-year-old Archuleta County man in custody

Police ended a 26-hour standoff Wednesday in Pagosa Springs by forcibly entering a man’s minivan and taking him into custody.

It was a relatively peaceful ending to a standoff that closed schools and put businesses into a lock-down.

Mark Trail, 59, of Archuleta County, was arrested on suspicion of felony assault and pointing a gun at a police officer, said Detective Scott Maxwell, with the Pagosa Springs Police Department.

The standoff began about 9 a.m. Tuesday in the 400 block of Hot Springs Boulevard when an officer with the Pagosa Police Department stopped the van for “driving wildly,” Maxwell said.

As the police officer approached the vehicle, a man inside the van yelled at the officer and pointed a handgun at him, Maxwell said. The officer ran back to his vehicle and called for backup.

Officers surrounded the vehicle all day Tuesday, through the night and into Wednesday morning.

Trail put items in the windows to block the view and made suicidal threats, Maxwell said.

A negotiator tried to convince the man to surrender, to no avail.

Officers entered the vehicle at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday and forcibly removed the suspect, Maxwell said.

Officers fired bean-bag rounds at the windows and used a Taser gun to subdue the man.

Trail and two officers received minor scrapes and cuts during the incident.

Police were unsure why Trail reacted the way he did. He was scheduled to be in court Tuesday morning to face charges of animal cruelty on suspicion of shooting a horse, Maxwell said.

“Not exactly sure what he wanted or what his motive was in doing this, other than he’s just angry about a lot of different things,” he said.

“It didn’t look like he was going to surrender or exit the vehicle,” Maxwell said. “He expressed repeatedly that he was going to end his life, so the decision was made to go ahead and get him out of the vehicle.”

All public schools in the Archuleta County School District, which are close to the standoff, were canceled Wednesday. It was the second day of school.

The schools were placed on “lockout” Tuesday, meaning no one could enter or leave the schools. Police escorted students to buses and to parent pick-up locations at the end of the school day.

Maxwell said Trail had jugs of water in the van.

“As far as I know, he never had to go to the bathroom,” he said.

shane@durangoherald.com

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