HomeNews Mt. Crested Butte shooting puts area man in hospital
Mt. Crested Butte shooting puts area man in hospital
Written by Seth Mensing
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Grow operation found on site
A local man is recovering from two gunshot wounds and another is being charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and possibly more charges, after what appeared to be an accidental shooting at the Edelweiss Condominiums in Mt. Crested Butte last Wednesday.
Mt. Crested Butte Police chief Hank Smith says his office got a call on Wednesday, April 6 from a sheriff’s deputy in Gunnison who was headed to Almont to meet a woman who was bringing a gunshot victim to meet an ambulance. “We were told that this guy had been shot by someone else and that the other party was still in his condo,” Smith says, “so we went charging over there.” After arriving at the condo, police pounded on the door and yelled repeatedly for the tenant to come out, with no response. Eventually the officers left to look at the condo of the woman who had driven the wounded man to Almont. After they returned and still had no luck bringing anyone to the first door, Smith said, one of the officers looked through a window in the condo and could see blood on the floor. “At that point, we said enough of this and we kicked the door in,” he said. Officers cleared the first floor of the condo before hearing a noise coming from the upstairs. “This guy came to the top of the stairs with three guns pointed at him,” Smith says. His day was going downhill fast. During the initial search of the condo, police found a “sizeable [marijuana] grow operation,” which has been prohibited in Mt. Crested Butte. Officers immediately arrested Travis Hunter, 30, for the prohibited use of a weapon and took him to the Gunnison County Jail, where his blood alcohol content was found to be .10, over the legal limit for driving. “So he was obviously under the influence of alcohol and some pretty potent marijuana,” Smith said. While Hunter was being taken to jail, Howard Wease of Riverbend, who had been shot through the left forearm and left thigh with Hunter’s .45 caliber handgun, was being treated for his injuries at Gunnison Valley Hospital. X-rays showed that the bullet had passed cleanly through both limbs, breaking a bone in his arm and missing the femoral artery in his leg by an inch or two. According to Smith, “He wouldn’t have made it to Almont” if the artery had been hit. While in the hospital, Wease told the officer who was staying with him that someone else had shot him and that he didn’t shoot himself. Further details were hard to come by. Back at the condo, police found the handgun in a box under a coffee table. It had been fired recently. After looking further, they actually recovered the slug that had gone through Wease’s extremities before bouncing off a wall. “We are virtually positive that this was an accidental shooting,” Smith said. The following Friday, police got a search warrant for the condo and an arrest warrant for Hunter and executed both warrants. Hunter and Wease were both charged with prohibited use of a weapon, a misdemeanor. “It sounds like [Wease] will recover just fine,” Smith said.