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Prosecutors file criminal charges against bail bondsman who shot Durango fugitive

Clint Simmons, right, faces two felony and two misdemeanor charges after firing his gun and injuring fugitive Freedom Anderson, left, on Sept. 30.
Clint Simmons told police he accidentally fired his gun

A bail bondsman faces two felony and two misdemeanor charges on suspicion of shooting a Durango fugitive Sept. 30 in Cortez.

Clint Simmons was not arrested at the scene, but after reviewing the case, the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced it plans to charge the bail bondsman with felony assault, felony menacing, misdemeanor prohibited use of a weapon and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

The Journal reached out to Cortez Police Chief Vernon Knuckles for comment, but he has not responded.

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Simmons is scheduled for a return filing of charges, arraignment and preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 at Montezuma County Combined Courts.

Simmons, 61, told police he accidentally shot Freedom Anderson, 26, with a .40-caliber Glock at 510 E. Arbecam Ave., about a block northwest of Kemper Elementary School in Cortez.

Police found Anderson lying on the driveway of the home screaming in pain with a gunshot wound to his left arm.

Simmons involved Cortez police officers and two of his bonding agents in the pursuit of Anderson, who he told police had jumped bail, according to a police report.

Simmons and his agents struggled with Anderson at the Arbecam Avenue home, after Simmons informed Anderson that he was under arrest and instructed him to move to the ground. Anderson ran, and Simmons caught up with him and tried to restrain him.

Simmons’ Glock fired during the struggle. Simmons told police that he thought he saw Anderson reach behind his back – perhaps for a weapon – but officers did not find a weapon.

Simmons was involved in a similar incident in December 2010 when he fired his gun –also a .40-caliber Glock – while attempting to arrest a wanted man in the 20000 block of Montezuma County Road 19. Simmons told police he fired the shots at the ground while chasing the man, but the man said Simmons pointed the gun at him. The man was not struck by the bullets, according to a Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office report.

Simmons told police he carried the gun for safety, and that the chase took place in tall grass. At the time, Simmons told officers he always assumes a wanted subject is carrying a weapon, the report said. The report did not specify whether the wanted man was armed.

Simmons was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment for the incident, but in 2011, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges.

Anderson had arrest warrants out of La Plata County for vehicular eluding, obstructing an officer, reckless endangerment and misdemeanor larceny, according to a police report.

He was arrested Nov. 3 in Denver on a fugitive hold for another jurisdiction, as well as for possession of a Schedule 4 controlled substance and criminal mischief.

In an unrelated case, Simmons’ wife, Sherry Simmons, a leader of the Montezuma County Patriots, is charged with misdemeanor harassment for allegedly following a person in public during a verbal confrontation between members of the Montezuma County Patriots and the Justice and Peace group on Jan. 2, according to a police report.

Sherry Simmons, is scheduled for a jury trial to begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Montezuma County Combined Courts.

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