Man shoots, kills ‘best friend,’ cops say
Grand Junction Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION ” A man told police he accidentally shot and killed his former U.S. Marine Corps colleague and friend while pretending to “clear the room” military style at an Orchard Mesa apartment.
Yancy Harris, 23, of Marshall, Texas, shot 25-year-old Timothy Pace shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday at 307 Acoma Drive, unit B ” Harris first told police it was suicide, police said.
Harris called his wife, telling her Pace had killed himself, his arrest affidavit said.
“He did not know why he said that, but he did, so he stuck to the story,” the arrest affidavit said.
Harris went outside and repeated the claim to a neighbor, the affidavit said.
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Harris was released Wednesday from the Mesa County Jail after posting $7,500 bond ” he was booked on a manslaughter charge Tuesday night.
Grand Junction police said an investigation is ongoing.
The Mesa County Coroner’s Office called the shooting a homicide, with the cause of death a single gunshot to the forehead.
Harris told police he was helping Pace move out of his apartment.
Police questioned his suicide story early. The affidavit said officers pointed to the bullet’s downward trajectory, “an upper forehead entry wound,” and no obvious motive for Pace to take his own life.
Harris’ story changed during an interview at the Grand Junction Police Department, police said.
Harris told police he was wearing a Walther P99 .40-caliber handgun on his waistband because his father had recently been robbed in Texas.
“Yancy said through prior military experience with Timothy, they practiced close combat maneuvers, and routinely pretended to clear rooms,” the affidavit said.
Harris said he thought there was no magazine in the handgun, and “thought the gun was completely empty.”
Pace was vacuuming in the living room. His belongings had mostly been packed by Tuesday evening.
“Harris said he spun the gun on his finger in a gunslinger fashion. Yancy said he pretended to clear the room and shoot multiple targets.”
Pace was shot once.
“Yancy said he immediately set the gun on the floor and checked Timothy, rolling him onto his back,” the affidavit said.
Denise Wiggins, Harris’ mother, told a judge Wednesday her son and Pace were “best friends” who served together four years in the Marines.