14-hour search for shooting suspect ends with citizen tip

Murder suspect Henry Corral and accident scene where he allegedly started his truck on fire. Courtesy photos

ALAMOSA — The 14-hour search for Henry Corral, wanted for the alleged fatal shooting of one man and critical injuring of two others, concluded on Sunday evening when Corral was taken into custody at 6:45 p.m. by law enforcement.

According to a statement from the City of Alamosa, “an alert citizen,” contacted law enforcement saying they had seen someone who matched Corral’s description, leading to his capture and arrest.

Corral is facing charges of suspicion of murder in the first degree, two counts of criminal attempt first degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and criminal attempt of aggravated robbery.

What caused the altercation between the four men, or the nature of their association is still under investigation. Joe Dzuris, Alamosa County coroner, has identified the man who died of his wounds as Aurelio Piña, 61. Piña was transported to a local emergency room where, Dzuris says, he was pronounced deceased.

The identities of the two other men have not been released, but the Alamosa Police Department confirms that both sustained critical injuries and were transported to the Front Range where they continue to be in serious to critical condition.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, officers were dispatched to the Sunset Inn, 1310 W. 8th St., on a report of shots fired. When they arrived on scene, they found three victims who had been shot, one of whom died of his wounds.

Corral fled the scene in a Chevrolet Avalanche, heading south-southwest out of Alamosa to the area of County Road 106 and the 12 South where he crashed the vehicle. Officials state Corral then set the Avalanche on fire and attempted, unsuccessfully, to carjack another vehicle before fleeing on foot – barefoot, it appears, as his shoes were found at the scene of the burning vehicle.  

Law enforcement officers from APD and the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office were immediately on the scene with authorities focused on the area around CR 106 and the 12 South, which is largely undeveloped and sparsely populated with ranches, outbuildings and significant space in between. Multiple calls went out for assistance from other agencies.

Residents of Alamosa County became aware of the situation at 4:50 a.m. when a “Reverse911” call advised people to stay inside and lock their doors.

Beginning in the early morning and throughout the day, law enforcement did a laborious house-by-house search throughout the area, “primarily for the safety of the residents," APD Police Chief George Dingfelder said at the time, “with the priority to get Corral into custody as soon as possible.”

There were also aircraft with thermal imaging capabilities, he said, and the Chaffee County SWAT with drones also equipped with it.

Mid-afternoon on Sunday, when the Valley Courier reached out to Dingfelder for an update, he said the search area had been expanded from 10 South to 15 South and further west into Rio Grande and Conejos counties, not because of any information but “given how long it’s been, that’s how far he could have traveled.”

Dingfelder also said that the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and agents with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, described as “the best of the best," had arrived on the scene.

And then, at 6:20 p.m., law enforcement got a break when a citizen reported seeing someone who matched Corral’s description north of CR 10S and east of CR 106, outside of the area where law enforcement was searching.

“A lengthy foot pursuit with law enforcement officers from APD SWAT, Alamosa County Sheriff's Office, Adams State University Police, US Marshals and CBI Fugitive Task Force officers led to Corral being taken into custody without further incident.”

Corral was transported to San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center for injuries resulting from the crash of the Chevrolet Avalanche and then transferred to a Front Range hospital for treatment. APD officers accompanied Corral to the hospital and upon his release, transported him to the Alamosa County Detention Center.

Corral is known to local law enforcement, as confirmed by ACSO Division Chief Ken Anderson who said Corral was arrested for domestic violence on Trinchera Road just two weeks before.

Dingfelder also described Corral as having an “extensive criminal history across the state of Colorado,” but provided no details.

“The capture of Corral,” Dingfelder said in a statement, “involved the majority of agencies from across the San Luis Valley, including Alamosa Police Department, Alamosa Fire Department, Monte Vista Police Department, Adams State Police Department, Alamosa County Sheriff, Conejos County Sheriff, Chaffee County Sheriff SWAT,  Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Fugitive Task Force, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, BLM Rangers, US Forest Service Rangers, and the US Marshals. At the height of the manhunt, over 80 officers from these agencies were going door to door looking for Corral and searching by ground and air.”

Dingfelder thanked the community for its support, including “Woody's Q Shack for drinks and water, SLV Health and Alamosa County Commissioners for food, and Alamosa County Shield 10-78 and SLV RETAC for breakfast and lunch for all the first responders who were investigating this horrific crime and searching for the suspect”

As of Monday afternoon, Corral was not yet scheduled for arraignment.