Dingfelder gives update on unusual spike in violent incidents

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ALAMOSA — Alamosa Police Chief George Dingfelder addressed city council regarding the unusual spate in the number of incidents involving violent crime recently during Wednesday night’s meeting of city council, 

“I think it’s important to give you an update on some of the serious crime we’ve had happen in the last few weeks,” Dingfelder said, focusing on four separate incidents.

“Concerning the State Street shooting where a  house was shot up, we’re comfortable saying that house was not the intended target.”

Dingfelder was referencing an incident that occurred on the night of June 5 where an unidentified individual fired multiple shots into a home on State Avenue before leaving the scene. Although one of the homeowners was home, no one was injured.

“We’re still working on that case, and we have a lot of evidence we’ve collected that we’re waiting to be processed by CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation). As you know, CBI is the only lab that does that in the state.’

Chief Dingfelder then brought up a stabbing involving three young men – two juveniles and a 22-year-old – that happened in Cole Park after the carnival being held had shut down for the evening.

“In the Cole Park stabbing that happened outside of the carnival and after hours,” Dingfelder said, “we’ve identified everybody in that and have sent charges to the district attorney for her to file in the case.”  

Dingfelder then brought up an additional incident that took place late in the evening on June 26 when, in the 1100 block of Denver Avenue, a 25-year-old victim was shot by an unidentified individual.

“The Denver Avenue shooting,” Dingfelder began, “we’re still working on that. We don’t have a lot of information on that. We have received some video that the detectives are going through to try and identify the suspect. The victim is still in a hospital on the Front Range but is expected to survive, so that’s good.”

Last, Dingfelder brought up the incident that garnered national attention because it involved multiple shootings followed by a long manhunt. It also happened just two days before the shooting on Denver Avenue.

“And then there’s the Sunset Inn shooting,” Dingfelder said. “There’s a lot going on there. We pretty much had to pull every detective for all of these, and I actually pulled Officer Mollee Heeney out of patrol and put her in investigations to give them some relief and help them work through some of these cases. We’re just going to have to suck it up on the patrol side because the investigations side needs a lot of help with everything going on, plus working drugs.

“On the Sunset Inn shooting, we were able to get a lot of resources in here pretty quickly. CBI and the U.S. Marshals plus all the agencies in the Valley. Kudos to all the agencies. They always just show up to help whether they were asked or not.

“Thank goodness we got the suspect arrested and where he needs to be but there’s a lot of evidence to work through. I can’t give you too much information but I’m happy to answer whatever questions you have.”

Councilor Jamie Dominguez thanked Dingfelder for his hard work and praised the collaboration among the agencies. Councilor Michael Carson echoed Dominguez’s comment. “It’s been a helluva month,” Carson said.

After expressing gratitude, Councilor Jan Vigil asked if Dingfelder could comment on the situation. “This is kind of unusual, isn’t it? Is there something we can do to help?”

Dingfelder agreed that it was unusual to have so much significant violence in such a short period of time. 

“This doesn’t make a big difference, but the stabbing at Cole [Cole Park] and the shooting at Sunset Inn involved people from other places. They may have some connection to Alamosa, but they’re not from here. But next week, I’m going to get the captains, the detectives and the sergeants together to target some of these hard-core criminals and some of this violent crime.”

Before closing the meeting, Mayor Ty Coleman echoed the same sentiments expressed by other members of council concerning APD’s work on the various cases.

Within that same meeting, Dingfelder was empowered by council to sign an MOU [memorandum of understanding] that allows the Alamosa Police Department to participate in the San Luis Valley Drug Task Force, a group created for law enforcement agencies in the Valley to work together in investigation of criminal activity involving drugs.