‘Bad dude’ nabbed in Glenwood
A “bad dude” is behind bars.It was the best possible outcome in what could have been a deadly situation.At 6:27 p.m. Sunday night, heavily armed Samuel Kingman Lincoln was apprehended at the Budget Host motel at 51429 Highway 6&24 in West Glenwood. Lincoln, 24, is the main suspect in a Nov. 23 shooting near Grand Junction and is currently wanted on a $1 million bond for attempted homicide and a $150,000 bond for robbery/burglary out of Mesa County, and a $250,000 bond for attempted homicide by the Glenwood Springs Police Department.The Western Slope’s most-wanted fugitive is now in custody after an 18-day manhunt. Law enforcement has been tracking Lincoln since he was identified as one of two gunmen who allegedly shot James Finnegan six times in a desert north of Grand Junction on Nov. 23. Finnegan survived and identified Lincoln and 39-year-old Charles Pruitt as his attackers.Lincoln’s arrest was not without incident. The murder suspect refused verbal commands and was shot with at least three less-than-lethal “sponge rounds” (bean-bag like projectiles) from a 40 mm weapon.Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said that once Lincoln was on the ground several officers pounced on him and took him into custody. Wilson said that Lincoln had two high-powered handguns strapped to his body when he was apprehended. A 9 mm hand gun was reportedly in a shoulder harness and a small semi-automatic assault pistol in a sling. Both weapons were fully loaded, Wilson said.”This is a bad character – a very bad dude,” a calm Wilson said sitting behind his desk at 8 p.m. last night.The police chief was anything but calm throughout most of the afternoon.Suspect ID’dGlenwood police received a call from Mesa County around 1:30 p.m. that Lincoln and a young woman were at the motel. That’s when planning went into motion. The entire operation was a multi-agency effort with personnel from Mesa County, Grand Junction SWAT and Drug Enforcement Administration, TRIDENT and Glenwood police, with Garfield County’s All-Hazard Response Team spearheading the operation.”They have put in a ton of training, and this is why,” Wilson said of the All-Hazard Response Team, which handles a variety of situations from hazardous material to fires, to last night’s tactical and possible hostage situation.No information was released about the woman, and Wilson said that no charges were filed against her.Once the motel was secured and surrounded, Wilson said an officer placed a phone call to the room and asked the woman to go to the front desk.”Then both of them came out of the room. She walked toward the office and (Lincoln) went to the back of the property,” Wilson said.It was the best possible scenario.”We wanted to get (the woman) out safely. Our No. 1 concern was that he would use the woman as a hostage or a shield,” he said. “This really could have been a full-blown shoot-out, but (the tactical operation) performed flawlessly.”We were also lucky in that there were only three other rooms occupied in the motel,” Wilson said, adding that everyone was evacuated from the motel before the call was made.Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said it was an impressive operation from start to finish.”It was awesome. To see how well our team worked with Grand Junction SWAT with no training or time together, was amazing.”Wilson was also impressed, especially considering the reputation of the suspect.”For never working together and to have this dangerous of a situation, it was amazing,” Wilson said.A team effortWhen the call came across the police frequency, three agents from a Grand Junction drug task force were driving to Denver for training when they pulled off Interstate 70 at the West Glenwood and started surveillance at the Budget Host.Wilson said they were backed up by TRIDENT officers a short time later.”Surveillance is what they do, that’s their specialty, so having them there so early really helped,” he said.Wilson said that a command center was moved to the city’s Municipal Operations Center on Wulfsohn Road. They also got full cooperation from the First Choice Inn just to the west of the Budget Host, where officers set up a surveillance outpost. “That helped our radio communications, plus we had line-of-sight. We could see the motel through binoculars,” Wilson said of both locations.By 4 p.m., Wilson said the motel was completely surrounded by officers. “A mouse would have a hard time getting out of there.”But just in case, Wilson said that the Colorado State Patrol stationed officers on the interstate in both directions with tack strips at the ready if Lincoln did break containment.Lincoln’s broke down near New Castle around noon Sunday, but Wilson didn’t have information on how the suspect and the woman made it to Glenwood.The success of the mission was due to planning, Wilson said.”The first little bit is mass confusion,” he said about the initial stages of the operation. “We had a ton of personnel flying in to jump on the problem. Then it settles in, and we get down to the nuts and bolts of what we need to get done.”Garfield County Undersheriff Tim Templon, who commands the All-Hazard Response Team, said that 17 out of 18 members of the team were on the scene, all heavily armed and ready for the worst possible scenario.Having to mobilize and prepare for a possible violent situation is why the team puts in so many training hours.”It’s sad that we have to have such a unit, but it’s nice to know what we are capable of,” Templon said.Wilson, a Glenwood Springs native who’s been on the force for more than 20 years, agreed: “It’s a shame to think we need this type of response capability, but we do.”The All-Hazards Response Team, which is funded by a Homeland Security grant, has been in operation for about 18 months. Vallario and Wilson both said that this was by far the most dangerous situation that they’ve been involved with.”This is the first time they’ve been confronted by this dangerous of a person. And this was an extremely dangerous person, Wilson said.Vallario said the unit has been involved with a variety of situations throughout the county and with TRIDENT since it formed.Vallario said that the main thing is that they had the personnel and the training to get the job done. “This was a very bad dude, and we got him.”Lincoln is the main suspect in a home invasion and stabbing at a mobile home in West Glenwood, Wilson said.”We’re pretty confident that he’s our guy,” he added.Not only is Lincoln suspected in the Finnegan shooting, but he also allegedly fired three shots at a sheriff deputy’s patrol vehicle during a police chase in Grand Junction Dec. 1. Neither of the two deputies were injured.Investigators have confirmed that Finnegan, Pruitt and Lincoln were all associates in the area’s methamphetamine subculture, and the trio ran with a group close to 20-year-old Christopher Wieberg, the man accused of shooting 28-year-old Thomas Martinez in the head, killing him, on Oct. 25, over an alleged unpaid drug debt.Finnegan was arrested Oct. 31 during the Martinez murder investigation, according to court records.Pruitt surrendered to authorities Dec. 5.Paul Shockley of the Grand Junction Free Press contributed to this story.
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Danna Cuc Valenzuela and Logan Averill are second graders at Riverview School and have been friends since preschool, so they’re pretty familiar with what’s behind each other’s masks.