Armed man arrested after hostage situation outside of Aspen |

Armed man arrested after hostage situation outside of Aspen

An armed man took at least one person hostage Wednesday evening near a popular camping area off Independence Pass before sheriff’s deputies were able to arrest him.

No one was injured during the situation near the intersection of Lincoln Creek Road and Highway 82, though the man threatened to kill people and fired shots from a handgun “in the direction” of Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies, said Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan.

“This was a big deal,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo. “This nation is learning that cops run to danger. This is what cops do and it is a big deal.”

Two Pitkin County deputies were able to peacefully resolve the situation, though details of how exactly that occurred were not available Wednesday night.

It was also unclear Wednesday night how many people were taken hostage by the man. Radio reports and initial information from law enforcement indicated just one person was held hostage. However, DiSalvo said he visited the scene and saw a group of people he estimated to be in their 20s who appeared to have been involved in the situation.

“They looked very, very frightened,” DiSalvo said.

The unidentified man, who was armed with two handguns, was taken into custody about 6 p.m., and transported to the Pitkin County Jail, according to emergency radio transmissions.

Rob Kurk, a Glenwood Springs resident, told The Aspen Times on Wednesday night that he and a friend had just turned on to Lincoln Creek Road from Highway 82, crossed the bridge and had gone about 200 yards down the road when they saw a four-door pickup truck blocking the road.

“It looked a little odd,” he said.

Kurk and his friend were about 100 feet away from the pickup when another car approached from the opposite direction, he said. The approaching car provoked the man in the truck blocking the road to react, Kurk said.

“He immediately jumped out (of the truck), pulled a black handgun and pointed it at the occupants of the vehicle,” Kurk said. “With the gun still pointed at them, he said (to us), ‘Back away or I’m going to kill them.’”

Kurk and his friend did as they were told, then drove back down Highway 82 toward Aspen.

“We thought it best to get out of there and call police,” he said.

Kurk said the man appeared to know the occupants of the car he stopped because another car passed by him just before that car arrived, and the man made no move to stop them. He described the man as about 30 years old, of medium height and medium build.

Emergency dispatchers first received a call – probably from Kurk – about 5:15 p.m., reporting a man with a gun was threatening people, Undersheriff Ryan said. The two deputies arrived on the scene about an eighth of a mile down Lincoln Creek Road soon after, he said.

The deputies contacted the armed man, who was holding at least one hostage and threatening to kill people, Ryan said. The deputies were able to talk with the man, though some shots were fired “in the direction” of the two deputies, he said. Radio reports indicated the shots may have been fired into the ground.

After about 40 minutes, the deputies were able to arrest the man, Ryan said.

Both Ryan and DiSalvo commended the response from most law enforcement agencies in the valley, including Aspen police, the Garfield County SWAT Team, Basalt police, the Colorado State Patrol, Snowmass Village police and the area’s U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer.

“The response was amazing,” DiSalvo said. “The fact that it ended peacefully removes all the stress from the situation.”

Letter: A theory on policy

As per Bob Axelson’s letter, I also wondered why names are omitted from the PI’s Crime Briefs. I just loved the way Randy the editor explained that our reader opinions were only considered amusing entertainment by His Nibs.

I have another theory; If the PI printed names of local miscreants, it would expose how much crime is committed by people who have no legal right to be here. Like the way Barack won’t use the word “Islamic” before the word “terrorist,” Randy abhors the accurate use of illegal to describe his beloved “immigrants.”

This omission allows “progressive” liberals like our editor to continue spreading the illusion that people here illegally are a benefit to our community. I like the Aspen Daily News motto on their front page: “If you don’t want it printed, don’t let it happen.”

On the positive side I must give Mr. Essex credit for printing views contrary to his own.

Bruno Kirchenwitz


Editor’s note: Once again, here is the policy on naming people arrested and the reasons: There’s no evidence that Mr. Kirchenwitz’s assertion about who is arrested is correct, nor is he blessed with the power of reading the editor’s mind. The public can always check Garfield County Jail inmates here:, though having a particular surname says nothing about a person’s legal residency or citizenship. Our editorial in which we set policy against using “illegal” as a label for human beings is here:

Letter: Beware knee-jerk responses

To my Republican friends:

During this election season, terrorism is going to present some tough choices to you and your party. There will be more attacks – by both domestic and international attackers – and there will be increasing calls to take tough action.

I urge you to judge the proposals according to your own conservative values. Beware of knee-jerk responses that would take away our freedoms in the name of keeping us safe. Be skeptical of authoritarian candidates who might use a crisis to increase the power of government (by declaring martial law, for example). Question those who undermine our pride and self-reliance with messages of fear. Challenge those who are less than committed to Constitutional principles such as due process and equal protection under the law.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Dave Reed


One dead in accident near Rifle

A man was ejected and killed Wednesday afternoon after his two-door car rolled over on Interstate 70 near Rifle, according to Rifle Police Chief John Dyer.

Eastbound I-70 was closed for about an hour ending shortly after 5 p.m. following the accident.

Rifle police, Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation responded the crash, and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office helped with traffic control.

Jerry Neil White

Longtime local Jerry Neil White passed away peacefully on the 20th of July in his home.

After serving in Vietnam as a decorated Marine, Jerry came to Aspen in 1976 and enjoyed skiing biking and the mountain lifestyle. He worked at Schlomo’s, The Little Nell and Little Annie’s in various capacities, the main being bartender. He retired as a 17 year veteran driver for RFTA in 2014. Jerry was originally from St. Elmo, Illinois.

He will be missed by his wife Diana, his dogs, Gunner and Gabriel, his brothers, Ben and Mike, and sister Patty.

Jerry was proudest to have served as a Marine and been the grandson of Annabelle McKenzie.

His family will be eternally in debt to the Hospice workers of the Valley.

A wake will be held September 3, 2016, for details please call 970.379.5188.

Dennis Andy Palardy

Dennis Andy Palardy, 51, passed away Thursday, July 21, 2016 in Grand Junction. He was an equipment operator.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 31, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. at the Redstone Town Park in Redstone, Colorado.

Dennis is survived by his four sons, Tyler Palardy, Dylan Palardy, Tristin Palardy, and Patrick Palardy, all of Carbondale; his daughter Chandelle Palardy of Goodyear, Arizona; parents, Gene and Marie Grange of Hotchkiss, Colorado; two brothers,Richard Palardy of Glenwood Springs, and David Palardy of Hotchkiss; two sisters, Debra McManus of Pascoag, Rhode Island, and Linda Soderberg of Aspen; and one grandchild.

Memorial contributions may be made in Dennis’ name to Response at Friends and family may leave their condolences at

One dead in accident near Rifle

A man was ejected and killed Wednesday afternoon after his two-door car rolled over on Interstate 70 near Rifle, according to Rifle Police Chief John Dyer.

Eastbound I-70 was closed for about an hour ending shortly after 5 p.m. following the accident.

Rifle police, Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation responded the crash, and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office helped with traffic control.

Wind halts Glenwood Canyon work; I-70 open Thursday

Downdrafts in Glenwood Canyon on Wednesday forced crews to halt helicopter work on a rockfall mitigation project that was expected to also close Interstate 70 during the day Thursday.

As a result, I-70 will be open through the canyon today and the Colorado Department of Transportation will need to reschedule the work.

The agency said in a news release it will look for a time of low traffic volume in the canyon, possibly a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. When the work is rescheduled, I-70 likely will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as was the case Wednesday.

Tracy Trulove, CDOT Region 3 communications manager, said the work might be scheduled for the second week of August. And while the team hoped to use only two days of closures for the project, the contract allows for up to four days, she said.

CDOT still hopes to get the work done in two back-to-back days, she said.

“Future closures in the canyon will now be scheduled to complete the necessary rockfall fencing work,” said Mike Fowler, project engineer.

Crews are working to install four new, heavy-duty rockfall fences on the northern canyon wall just west of Hanging Lake Tunnel.

These fences are built to protect the location of a major rockfall in February, which led to a nearly weeklong closure of the canyon, the longest since I-70 was constructed through Glenwood Canyon 24 years ago.

Two of these fences are being placed high on the canyon wall, the highest at about 300 feet, and their heavy steel posts needed to be hauled up by helicopter.

Unfortunately the wind kept crews from placing any of these posts Wednesday, said Trulove.

Two more fences will be constructed after the helicopter work, but they can be reached with a crane.

The closure Wednesday created high traffic from downtown Aspen to the airport as drivers took Colorado 82 over Independence Pass. Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies and Aspen officers turned away 20 oversize vehicles that were trying to go up Independence Pass despite the 35-foot length restriction.

Meanwhile, two semis stalled on Cottonwood Pass road, one of them jackknifed, closing down the road in both directions for more than two hours.

CDOT had advised against using this pass, as well as Fryingpan Road and Hagerman Pass, as detours.

USA Cycling at crossroads as Rio Olympics approaches

Kristin Armstrong could win her third straight Olympic gold medal in Rio. The women’s pursuit team is favored to capture gold. Several Americans could land on the BMX podium.

Will anybody in the U.S. notice? Or even care?

That is perhaps the biggest challenge facing USA Cycling as the Rio Games arrive. One of the nation’s most popular participatory sports is dealing with aging athletes, declining membership and a vast disconnect between amateur riders and their elite counterparts.

It has left USA Cycling officials to wonder just where they stand in the sport’s structure.

“There is no doubt we need to adapt as an organization,” agreed Derek Bouchard-Hall, who took over as the governing body’s CEO last year after a successful career in private business.

To usher the organization into the future, Bouchard-Hall spent several months examining USA Cycling’s shortcomings, then came up with a three-prong approach to shake things up.

First, he is championing a renewed emphasis on amateur cycling, rather than funneling so much of USA Cycling’s resources to elite athletes. The idea is that by fostering growth at the grassroots level, the sport in the U.S. will become more robust in the long-term.

Second, he wants to broaden the coverage of USA Cycling to encompass not just racers but the everyday cyclist, those who ride in mass events such as RAGBRAI — the bike ride across Iowa taking place this week — and Gran Fondos, the pseudo-races that have become all the rage.

Finally, he wants an organization that is more open, transparent and willing to adjust to feedback, a customer-focused approach that stems from his previous job with bike retailer Wiggle.

That’s not to say USA Cycling is abandoning elite athletes. Instead, Bouchard-Hall believes the amateur cyclist and elite cyclist go hand-in-hand, the growth of one helping the other.

“People say, ‘Where do you put your efforts, the amateurs or the elite?’ The answer is both,” he explained. “This is a balance that all national governing bodies in America face.”

The Rio Olympics may offer an opportunity to kick-start his plan.

Sure, broadcaster NBC will focus on more glamorous sports such as gymnastics and swimming, the traditional Olympic sports that push the public needle. But whether they are mere highlights of Armstrong in the time trial or Connor Fields on the BMX track, or online streams of cycling events throughout the Olympic program, the visibility of the Summer Games is priceless.

That is crucial for USA Cycling, which has always struggled to raise money.

Part of its support comes from the U.S. Olympic Committee, and is based on success at world championships and other major competitions. But according to recent USOC tax returns, sports such as shooting, rowing and sailing often receive more money than cycling.

“Where we suffer is our federation doesn’t have the funds,” said Sarah Hammer, who anchors the women’s pursuit team. “Something like swimming, they can generate their own through sponsors.”

USA Cycling has rarely had that ability, even when Lance Armstrong was in the spotlight.

Some worry things could get even tighter for elite athletes if Bouchard-Hall redirects some of their scant funding to support the growth of grassroots cycling. But he quickly dispels that notion, pointing toward fundraising and sponsorship plans to help fill those coffers.

More importantly, Bouchard-Hall said, people should understand that his plan to revitalize USA Cycling is a long-term approach that will eventually benefit elite athletes, too.

By growing the sport at the local level, Bouchard-Hall hopes USA Cycling’s slow membership decline will turn around. More young people will pick up cycling, reversing a trend toward an aging demographic. And some day, the best of those athletes will advance far enough in the sport that they will compete at world championships and the Olympics.

“We’re not even participating in track cycling in some of disciplines, which is unfortunate,” Bouchard-Hall said. “We believe we’re a really important part of the racing ecosystem, but we also believe it’s the right thing to do to foster participation at all levels.”

USA Cycling received a small bump four years ago from the London Games, where it won four cycling medals — fifth-most of any nation. But Bouchard-Hall hopes for a bigger return from the Rio Games, where the time zone will make tuning in easier for American fans.

The difficulty lies in trying to build on the visibility.

“We’re not a sport that generates a lot of attention without big megastars and big money,” Bouchard-Hall said. “When we had Lance, we got a lot of attention, cycling got a lot of publicity. But our Olympians, as great as those stories are within the sport — and people who follow the sport do love them — they don’t translate well outside of them. What we need to do is get out the stories and that’s a difficult challenge.”

But it’s also a unique opportunity. The Olympics are a once-every-four-years chance to help Bouchard-Hall jumpstart his vision for the future of USA Cycling.

“You have to be able to change as an organization when everything around you is changing,” said Mark Gullickson, the long-tenured director of USA Cycling’s mountain bike program.

“I think Derek was faced with some really tough challenges,” Gullickson said, “and we’re still in the early phases of where you’re headed. But I think we’re making changes that we need to make if you really want to change the direction of the program to meet the needs of the members.”

Trump invites Russia to hack Clinton’s emails

MIAMI — Donald Trump has a message for Russia: find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. But his running mate, Mike Pence, is sending mixed signals.

In a  press conference Wednesday, the Republican presidential nominee said that the 30,000 missing emails from Clinton’s private email server would reveal “some beauties” and made an extraordinary plea for a foreign power to locate them.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. “I think you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Clinton’s campaign asserts that Russia hacked computers belonging to the Democratic National Committee and released those emails on the eve of the party’s convention to benefit Trump’s candidacy. The emails, published by WikiLeaks last week, revealed that the DNC favored Clinton’s candidacy over rival Bernie Sanders, triggering a leadership shakeup within the DNC.

The New York Times, citing ederal officials who have been briefed on the evidence, reported Wednesday that American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the DNC.

Trump dismissed the claims, saying it’s not clear who hacked those emails, but the incident is a sign that foreign countries no longer respect the U.S.

“If it’s any foreign country, it shows how little respect they have for the United States,” said Trump, who added that he was “not an email person myself because I believe it can be hacked.”

Moments after Trump took the final question, Pence condemned the possible cyber-espionage, breaking from Trump for the first time since being selected as his running mate.

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences,” Pence said in a statement.

A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin should stay out of the U.S. presidential election.

“Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election,” spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.

Trump, whom Democrats have accused of having cozy ties with Putin, repeatedly declined to condemn the actions of Russia or any other foreign power of trying to intervene in the a U.S. election.

“No, it gives me no pause,” the celebrity businessman said. “If Russia or China or any of those country gets those emails, I’ve got to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.”

He also said, “I’m not going to tell Putin what to do. Why should I tell Putin what to do?”

The Clinton campaign immediately denounced Trump’s call.

“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

Trump also suggested that Clinton should not receive any security briefings due to the hack that would ensure “that word will get out.”

Trump has said that he has “zero investments” in Russia and insisted that his company had not received any significant investments from the country. He also has downplayed his affection for Putin and said he would treat the Russian leader “firmly,” though he said he wanted to improve relations with Russia. Some Democrats and security experts have said that Trump’s proposal to set conditions on NATO allies could risk Russian expansion in Eastern Europe.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, said “anything’s possible” when asked during an interview whether the Russians could be working to sway the election toward Trump.

“Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin,” Obama said during the sit-down with NBC News that aired Tuesday. “And I think that Trump’s gotten pretty favorable coverage back in Russia.”