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Shooting suspect is out on bail

Attempted second-degree murder charges a chance
Meier

A man suspected of firing a rifle into his neighbor’s home Friday and threatening police with the gun was released from jail over the weekend on $25,000 bail.

Ian Meier, 21, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault after firing the AR-15 rifle into a home at 319 Hillcrest Drive and refusing to drop his weapon when police asked, according to the arrest affidavit.

He appeared Monday in La Plata County Court to be advised of possible charges. He was also told as a condition of his release he cannot drink alcohol or possess weapons.

Deputy District Attorney Justin Fay told Judge Martha Minot that prosecutors are considering filing an attempted second-degree murder charges.

A flurry of shots were fired into 319 Hillcrest Drive late Friday night, waking Hildreth Cooper, who lives there.

“I thought it was some kind of explosion, fireworks or something like that,” Cooper said.

One of the bullets came through the bedroom where he was sleeping, and it embedded itself in the bedroom’s door frame, Cooper said.

After hearing the shots, he went outside to look around, and he saw lights were on at his neighbor’s house, but he didn’t see anyone at home. He found bullet holes in his fence metal. That is when he went back inside and called the police.

“They came up, and made sure we were all safe,” he said.

The police told Cooper and his partner to stay inside while they investigated.

As the police were outside examining bullet holes in the fence and trying to determine the direction they came from, Meier came out through the front door of 317 Hillcrest Drive holding a rifle.

Durango Police Department Officer Bryan Heaton saw Meier come through the door, and raised his weapon, according to the affidavit. The police officer yelled at Meier to drop his weapon, and he fired two shots at him, according to the affidavit.

“It was pretty intense, with the shooting and the shouting next door,” Cooper said. He said, he couldn’t see exactly what was happening.

After the police officer fired, Meier ran back into the house uninjured. He left the rifle inside, and he ran out the backdoor, said Lt. Darrell Robertson, a spokesman for DPD.

At that point, Cooper could see officers standing on the front porch trying to get Meier to come out of the house.

“That lasted quite a while,” he said.

Police, La Plata County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a K-9 unit searched for Meier for 10 to 15 minutes, Robertson said.

During the search, Meier approached a police officer, about three houses away, and he told the officer he had accidentally discharged his rifle. He was then arrested, according to a news release.

Later, Meier told investigators he was cleaning his rifle and drinking alcohol when it accidently fired twice, according to the affidavit.

A short time later, he went to the front door because he thought he heard some noises.

“He thought it might be some ‘crackheads,’” according to the arrest affidavit.

Then, he said he heard some gunshots from outside, and he pointed the weapon at the front door attempting to fire, but the weapon malfunctioned.

He later told police he was propping open the front door as he was scanning for threats, and then Heaton fired at him.

Heaton was placed on a customary administrative leave pending an investigation, according to a news release.

Meier later denied knowing that Heaton was a police officer, the affidavit stated.

But Cooper finds Meier’s account hard to believe.

“There’s no way you couldn’t have known there was police at your door,” he said.

Cooper said he knew college-aged people were renting the house next door before the shooting, but he had never had much interaction with Meier.

Since the shooting, Meier and his father have visited Cooper to apologize for the shooting, he said. But he doesn’t understand why Meier didn’t take immediate action to talk with him Friday.

“Why didn’t he come over and see if we were OK?” he asked.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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