‘Horrible’ – resident describes scene
SILT – Nanci Limbach didn’t think too much about it when she realized there was some kind of commotion not far from her house on County Road 346 late Tuesday night.She has seen a lot of car accidents in the area due to a sharp dogleg turn in the road, which runs from Rifle to Silt, south of Interstate 70. And because there were police lights flashing, she assumed the situation was under control.It was only when she later opened her front door and heard screams that turned out to be those of an injured police officer that she realized her help was needed.Limbach and her husband Paul rushed to the scene, where they found a Colorado State Patrol trooper, later identified as Brian Koch, who had been shot.Limbach said she and her husband never heard any distinct gunshots from inside the thick stone walls of their home, although there was a banging noise they assumed had been made by their dog. She regrets that she didn’t respond to the shooting sooner. Koch was screaming in pain from his injuries.”It was horrible. I mean, his arm was shattered by the bullet,” she said.
The Limbachs helped tend to Koch, but Nanci gives most of the credit to another man who had been driving by the scene and stopped to provide the initial response. The man used a belt to help secure a bandage on Koch’s arm and called authorities on a cell phone.”That guy deserves a lot of kudos,” she said.She didn’t know the name of the man, who she said was accompanied by a young boy.Limbach said Koch didn’t talk about the events leading up to the shooting – he was in too much pain to say much of anything, she said.”I guess the guy was speeding or something and he went to stop him and the guy shot at him and he shot back.”… I’m just glad the officer is OK. That was my big concern. … Hopefully they’ll catch that guy before he injures somebody else.”Limbach runs a wildlife rehabilitation center on her property. Roadblocks resulting from the hunt for the shooting suspect – later identified as Steven Joseph Appl – forced her to cancel a wildlife program that was to have been attended by 30 or 35 people Wednesday morning.
Residents in the area of the manhunt were being advised to stay indoors, but Limbach wasn’t worried, considering all the police that responded to the scene.The shooting suspect’s car was found abandoned about three miles up Dry Hollow Road south of Silt. Nancy Jacobsen, who lives off Dry Hollow several miles farther up the road, also wasn’t worried that the assailant might be in the vicinity. She thinks he would be more likely to head to an urban area where he could blend in better.Besides, she said, “Everybody up here is well armed. It’s the truth. And it’s his dumb luck to be out here in hunting season. Every other vehicle is also armed to the teeth.”After hearing about the manhunt, she went ahead and took her dogs on a two-mile walk, while unarmed.”They’re big dogs,” she said.She said people living in rural parts of Garfield County believe in self-protection.
“You have to when you live out here. You have to take care of your medical needs, your security needs,” she said.Jacobsen noted that there have been other manhunts in the county over the years. “It seems to come with the territory,” she said.But for Limbach, the shooting outside her home is another sign of how life has changed along her road.”We’re no longer out in the boonies,” she said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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