Phone call depicts horror of Madrid shooting |

Phone call depicts horror of Madrid shooting

J.K. Perry
Published: Preston Utley/

EAGLE COUNTY ” Eliseo Madrid screamed desperately for help while his bloody wife Maria slowly died in front of Russel Ammon’s home near Dotsero from a gunshot wound to the head.

“Someone just came up and someone was shot,” Ammon said in the 911 call he placed the night of Oct. 7. “The car’s in the driveway. A woman was shot in the head and it’s very serious. … OK?”

Eliseo Madrid had pulled into Ammon’s Colorado River Road driveway on the dark, moonless night accompanied by his son, Joel, and dying wife.

The family had been picnicking at a campsite north of Dotsero on Coffee Pot Road. As the family left, a man opened fire on the green Toyota Eliseo drove, he has told investigators.

The 911 recording of Ammon’s call to police revealed the grisly details following the shooting of 38-year-old Maria Madrid. Recorded conversation between Eliseo, who spoke broken English, and the female 911 dispatcher is strained throughout.

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Approximately 14 minutes elapse between the beginning of the call and when police arrive.

When the dispatcher asked Ammon how Madrid was shot, Ammon handed the phone to Eliseo. “What was she shot with? What type of gun, a long gun or a hand gun?” the dispatcher said.

“Yeah with a hand gun. I’m not speaking very good English,” Eliseo said. Russel’s wife, Bonnie Ammon got on the phone as the dispatcher tried to determine who shot Maria. Neither Bonnie nor Eliseo knew.

“She’s covered with blood,” Bonnie said. “He went out to check on his wife,”

Bonnie and Eliseo had seen Maria was not breathing. “No she’s dead. She’s dead,” Eliseo had screamed in the background.

“You have to send someone,” Bonnie told the dispatcher. “She is a mess.”

Russel Ammon had gone next door to get his daughter, Dr. Angela Ammon, to try to help Maria. The dispatcher asked Eliseo ” who got back on the phone ” if he could identify the person who had shot Maria. A lone man brandishing a big gun, he said.

Eliseo said police could find the man two miles north on Deep Creek Road in a white truck with a big camper. “I don’t know where he come from. They kill my wife, they kill my wife. Come right away,” Eliseo said.

The distraught husband again had gone to check on his wife, while dispatch sought a description of the suspect from Bonnie. In the background Eliseo screamed that his wife was now breathing.

“He’s shot in the arm and his wife is breathing. We need help,” Bonnie said.

Angela arrived on the scene shortly thereafter to try to help Maria. Bonnie had left the phone to find gloves for her daughter. In the silence of the recording, the dispatcher asks if “we have anybody that speaks Spanish,” to no reply.

Eliseo returned to the phone and gave the dispatcher more information about the suspect.

“Hurry because they’re going to leave. He was real drunk,” Eliseo said.

He did not know why the man shot Maria, only that they had put water on their campfire before they left the site of the picnic. “This guy looked pretty drunk. I don’t know” why he shot her, Eliseo said.

Russel got back on the phone. He explained the geography of the area to dispatch to help locate the suspect. Angela continued to help Maria. Russel saw the lights of a car and got a light to flag it down.

Shortly after, he saw the police and the call ended.

Just days after the shooting, police arrested Charles Gross, a man known to have down welding work in Eagle County, on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with Madrid’s death.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he has delayed filing charges against Gross as his office interviews members of Madrid’s family.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or

Vail, Colorado

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