Police search for motive in Grand Junction slaying
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Police Monday remained baffled as to why a man who grew up in Alaska and was staying with a relative in suburban Denver, Colorado apparently drove 240 miles to kill a dentist and the wife of a former Mesa State College President.
The spouses of those killed survived Saturday morning’s shooting in the driveway of a home near a country club, about a mile from an Interstate 70 exit.
Suspect Stefan Alexander Martin-Urban, 22, died Sunday around 1 p.m. of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had no criminal history, no ties to the Grand Junction area and no apparent link to the victims.
Police spokeswoman Kate Porras said investigators believe Martin-Urban was in the area Friday morning, about 23 hours before the shooting. They were seeking the public’s help in learning what he did or where he was before the shootings.
Police had received several tips by Monday morning but Porras did not immediately have details.
The Denver Post reported that Martin-Urban grew up in Fairbanks and graduated from Lathrop High School.
A woman who answered the phone at the home of Martin-Urban’s mother Sunday read a statement to the paper: “The family of Stefan Martin-Urban extends their heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and requests their privacy be respected as they grieve their losses.”
Police say Martin-Urban had been living with a relative in the Denver suburb of Lakewood for the last seven weeks after moving there from the Los Angeles area.
Martin-Urban shot himself Saturday as authorities closed in on his vehicle after shots were fired earlier that morning outside the home of dentist Terry Fine, 61, police said.
At the time, Fine and his wife, Linda, were meeting up with former Mesa State College President Michael Gallagher and his wife, Floyce, to head on a vacation, police said.
Investigators determined Martin-Urban fired more than a dozen rounds, some from close range, from a 9mm handgun and reloaded at least once. Investigators believe he had ammunition and spare magazines in a canvas bag he was carrying.
Floyce Gallagher, 60, and Terry Fine died. Michael Gallagher, who was not hurt, drove a wounded Linda Fine to St. Mary’s Hospital, where she was listed in good condition.
“What (Mike Gallagher) had in the forefront of his mind was to save as many people as he could,” Grand Junction Police Chief Troy Smith said of his conversations with Michael Gallagher following the shooting.
The Fines’ neighbor, who ran to the home to help after hearing the shots, also was shot but was out of the hospital Saturday night.
Police executed search warrants at Martin-Urban’s home and the Fines’ home but would not say what they found in the homes or in the suspect’s vehicle.
No suicide note has been found.
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