Glenwood man gets 6 months for threatening cops with shotgun
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A Glenwood Springs man will spend the next six months in the Garfield County Jail for threatening sheriff’s deputies with a shotgun, and striking a man with his truck.
Gary Hazelhurst, 55, pleaded guilty to felony menacing, resisting arrest, criminal attempt to commit third-degree assault, and harassment – ethnic intimidation, in September.
While Hazelhurst admitted that threatening deputies with a shotgun was an “inappropriate reaction” he contended that the crime was not racially motivated.
“I made a huge mistake,” Hazelhurst told Judge Nichols. “It had nothing to do with their race.”
Hazelhurst was arrested on May 1, after authorities were called to a disturbance at the H Lazy F mobile home park at 5387 County Road 154, south of Glenwood Springs, where Hazelhurst lived.
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According to police reports, Hazelhurst struck 22-year-old Victor Moreno in the knee with his white Toyota pickup while Moreno walked to Hazelhurst’s neighbor’s residence. The report stated that Hazelhurst yelled racial epithets at Moreno as well.
When deputies arrived, Hazelhurst reportedly ran into his residence and returned with a double-barreled shotgun.
Hazelhurst apologized to the deputies and to the community, “for any fear that I’ve put into them,” he told 9th Judicial District Court Judge Gail Nichols.
But prosecutor Matt Barrett told the judge that this particular case turned back the clock in terms of racial tensions in the community.
“We are seeing these crimes on the rise and this is a great concern to the community,” Barrett said, adding that each separate charge is very serious, and that combined the crimes deserve a one-year prison sentence.
“He waived a gun at the police,” Barrett said, adding that “what he did was unacceptable.”
Hazelhurst claimed that the shotgun he wielded was a family heirloom, that it was not loaded, and that he’s never even had ammunition for it.
But Judge Nichols – who was presiding over Hazelhurst’s sentencing hearing in place of Judge Daniel Petre – said that it did not lessen the severity of his actions and that he could have been shot.
“I’ve seen incidents where police have done much worse with much less provocation,” Nichols said.
Officers did have to Taze him multiple times even after he was in restraints.
Judge Nichols said while it could be argued that the incident was racially motivated, it was her opinion that it had more to do with Hazelhurst’s temper.
“I don’t think that you are a biased person,” Nichols said. “But what you did was intimidating and insulting.”
Hazelhurst’s attorney Walt Brown said that prison was excessive and asked for probation.
“There is no question that what Mr. Hazelhurst did was wrong,” Brown said.
Nichols also sentenced Hazelhurst to 40 hours of community service and required him to write apology letters to the deputies involved, and to Moreno.
Hazelhurst has already been involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and anger management classes since May. Nichols said that she recognized that he was doing what he needed to do in order to deal with his anger issues.