A Durango man was sentenced to 24 years in prison Wednesday, nearly a year after he fired seven shots from a handgun into the patio of the 8th Ave. Tavern.
“There’s just one word that sums up this case, and that’s senseless,” said 6th Judicial District Judge William Herringer. “This was senseless violence.”
In a plea agreement with the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Michael Quirova, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault. In accordance with the plea agreement, he was facing 20 to 24 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney David Ottman asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 24 years. Ottman said the sentencing was not a matter of rehabilitation, but about protecting the public.
“This was an intentional, violent act that Mr. Quirova provided no reason other than he was angry,” Ottman said.
Public defender Mary Pero argued for a 20-year sentence, saying that before the shooting, Quirova had never been convicted of a violent offense. She said Quirova had spent much of his life in prison for different offenses, and likely experienced trauma that influenced his decisions the night of the shooting.
“Those who go to prison often have trauma,” Pero said. “This young man that has been incarcerated for a majority of his life, and I think that has contributed to an inability to process his emotions and feelings.”
Quirova has a criminal record dating to 2008 that includes convictions for burglary, possession of a controlled substance, vehicular eluding and flight escape.
According to a report in The Colorado Springs Gazette, in 2013 Quirova had a long standoff with police, in which he allegedly held a female hostage against her will inside an apartment.
Herringer chose to sentence Quirova to two consecutive prison sentences of 12 years each, totaling 24 years – the maximum allowed under the plea agreement. He agreed with Ottman’s point that Quirova represents a threat to the community.
“I worry about what will happen, no matter how long I sentence Mr. Quirova, when he comes back into the community,” Herringer said.
Quirova chose not to address the court at the sentencing hearing.
The shooting occurred about 11 p.m. Jan. 29, 2021, when Quirova randomly fired gunshots into the patio of 8th Ave. Tavern, at 509 East Eighth Ave., hitting Stephanie Celeste Faumui and Jeffrey Michael Starns.
Both were taken to Mercy Hospital where they were treated and released the next day. Starns was shot in the leg. Faumui was shot in the right shoulder, about a half-inch from her spine. She has undergone months of physical therapy and will never be able to wait tables or play volleyball again, she said.
Speaking through tears Wednesday, Faumui told Herringer that her mental recovery has been more difficult than the physical recovery.
“Not a day goes by where I don’t feel the stabbing in my arm and in my spine,” Faumui said.
During the sentencing hearing, members of Quirova’s family addressed the court, expressing love for Quirova and pleading with the judge for a 20-year sentence.
“I know he’s not a monster, and I know he’s not a violent person, said Quirova’s mother Felicia Acosta. “... He made poor choices as he became an adolescent. I don’t know why he had access to a gun, and I really wish this whole situation wouldn’t have happened.”