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Storefront windows shot in downtown Cortez, causing $44,000 in damage

Seventeen businesses were shot at Tuesday evening in downtown Cortez. Police are searching for a suspect. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Nearly 20 properties hit with BB gun or slingshot, police say

Someone on Tuesday night shot storefront windows on Cortez’s Main Street, causing an estimated $44,000 in damage to at least 17 buildings including restaurants, stores, shops and the Montezuma County government annex.

Glass windows and doors were left with pockmarks and holes, and in some cases, windows were cracked or shattered. No injuries were reported.

The damage was caused by either a BB gun or a slingshot, according to police. Small metal balls were found at least one location.

There are no suspects, and police are gathering surveillance video footage from businesses to review, according to Patrol Lt. Rex Brinkerhoff.

Anyone with information about the vandals is encouraged to contact Cortez Police at (970) 565-8441. They can remain anonymous.

Total damage is estimated at more than $44,000, according to a police report. The businesses hit were on Main Street and north and south Broadway. The first report of a shooting came in 8:38 p.m.

TireMax on East Main Street reported that four windows were damaged, including one that shattered, said General Manager Daniel Davis. He estimated replacement cost at $10,000, according to the police report.

Surveillance video footage from the tire shop showed a dark-colored westbound vehicle driving by a window as it shattered at 9:01 p.m. The blurred nighttime image does not show the make or model or license plate. The profile resembles a hatchback, Davis said.

People “doing stupid stuff” don’t realize the amount of damage they cause, Davis said.

The front window at Margaritas restaurant on South Broadway also was shattered. At the Christ Wright building on East Main Street five large windows were hit, with an estimated replacement cost of $15,000.

The front door of the Montezuma County Annex on West Main Street in Cortez was shattered from a shooting. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Leigh Comisky, server at Pippo's restaurant, points to window damage from vandals that shot at multiple businesses Tuesday night in downtown Cortez. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Four windows at TireMax in Cortez were damaged from a suspected drive-by shooter. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
This vehicle is shown in a security camera video from TireMax at the same time a window was shot and shattered. (Video screenshot)
Windows at downtown businesses were shot at Tuesday evening. (Courtesy Loungin' Lizard)

The front door of the county annex shattered from the projectile, and replacement cost was an estimated $900. The door was then boarded up with plywood.

Business staff were dismayed by the property damage and potential harm.

“You hope people would support local businesses, not the opposite,” said Brianna Show, a server at Pippo’s.

It was fortunate the popular diner was closed because the shot hit a window next to where customers sit, she said. Staff noticed shattered glass on a table the next morning.

The window must be replaced because the hole will begin to splinter. The estimate for a new window was $1,500, Show said.

Police first responded to the shattered glass door at the county annex, he said, then conducted a survey downtown and found that other businesses had been hit. More calls came in Wednesday when businesses opened.

“It is property damage and a danger to the community. The glass could shatter onto someone,” Brinkerhoff said.

The suspect or suspects could face felony property crime charges because of the high replacement costs, he said.