Alleged Gypsum armed robber faces attempted murder charge

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily
Jesus Manuel Miranda Jr.
Staff Photo |

Miranda’s charges

Jesus Manuel Miranda faces five felony charges and a misdemeanor.

• Attempted first degree murder, felony.

• Aggravated robbery, felony.

• Aggravated first degree assault, felony.

• Aggravated second degree assault, felony.

• Possession of a weapon by a previous offender, felony.

• Theft, misdemeanor.

EAGLE — Jesus Manuel Miranda Jr., who witnesses say robbed a Gypsum clothing store at gunpoint and shot a man, is a convicted felon and registered sex offender whose 17-year-old accomplice in the robbery is also in custody.

Just past noon last Friday, wearing masks and sunglasses, Miranda and the girl walked into the Tienda Montes clothing store, and she closed the door behind them.

Miranda, wearing a black hat, sunglasses and a black hooded sweatshirt, walked into the store ahead of the teenage girl. Once they were inside, the girl, wearing sunglasses and a blue bandanna over her face, closed the door behind them, according to Miranda’s arrest warrant.

As he demanded money from Roxana Venzor, the store clerk, he hit her on the side of the head with a handgun he was brandishing, a Smith and Wesson 9-millimeter with the with the serial numbers filed off, police said.

Miranda stole two cell phones from a female customer, Velia Arce, valued at $1,200, and started to flee the store, police said.

Miranda and the girl didn’t take any money, police said.

That’s when a male customer, Alan Uber Gonzalez, 23, saw the robbery and chased Miranda and the girl when they were outside the store. He was there to send money to his family in Mexico.

Gonzalez stopped Miranda, and as they struggled over the handgun, Gonzales was shot three times — once in the center of his chest, once in the left hand and once in his left armpit area. A fourth round might have been shot into the ground, police said.

Gonzalez was rushed to the Vail Valley Medical Center in stable condition and is recovering from his gunshot wounds.

During their fight, Miranda dropped the gun and fled with the girl, police said.

Venzor and Arce identified Miranda and the girl when the witnesses were shown their Facebook pictures.

Fleeing on a high profile highway

Miranda fled, headed west on Interstate 70, authorities said.

The manhunt lasted about 12 hours, said Walt Stowe, public information officer with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

The car was spotted near New Castle and finally stopped near Silt. Miranda, a passenger in the car, was arrested at the scene. The driver, Daniel Lee Happle, fled on foot.

Authorities, including the Glenwood Springs Police Department’s K9 unit, found and arrested Happle about 30 minutes later.

Police found at least one gun at the time of the arrests, Stowe said.

Miranda, 31, of Dotsero, remains in the Garfield County Jail. He had his first court appearance Tuesday in Glenwood Springs for weapons charges in Garfield County.

Happle’s first court appearance was also Tuesday in Glenwood Springs.

The 17-year-old girl was arrested Friday afternoon and is scheduled to make her first court appearance at 1 p.m. today in Eagle County.

Miranda’s trail of trouble

Miranda wasn’t out of the legal woods from his last bout with the law when he allegedly robbed the store.

He has an open case in Eagle County, stemming from an incident for fighting. He turned himself in Aug. 18 and was in court Aug. 26 for a bond hearing.

In 2011 he pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

In 2007 he did the same thing.

Also in 2011, Miranda pleaded guilty to the Class 4 felony of escape attempt from felony conviction, and was sentenced to two years in jail.

Miranda started as a frequent flier in the justice system when was convicted of a sex offense when he was a minor, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

On Sept. 26, 2005, Miranda pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, a Class 5 felony, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

On Aug. 7, 2008, he pleaded guilty to possession of a Schedule 2 controlled substance — more than 1 gram, a Class 5 felony.

On Oct. 5, 2009, he pleaded guilty to harassment — strike/shove/kick, a Class 3 misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 15 days in jail.

On June 17, 2010, he pleaded guilty to possession of a Schedule 2 controlled substance — 1 gram or less, a Class 6 felony.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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