Stabbing to prompt discussion of Glenwood police resources
Police ask anyone with information to call the department at 970-384-6500, to submit a tip via http://glenwoodpolice.com/crime-tips/ or call Garfield County CrimeStoppers at 970-945-0101.
The stabbing of two men early Sunday just north of the Grand Avenue bridge was the result of a fight between two groups of men, Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said Monday.
The wounds were not life-threatening, Wilson said, though one man was stabbed in the torso.
Glenwood police on Sunday released a surveillance image of the suspect and asked the public’s help in getting information about the incident, which occurred near the intersection of Sixth Street and Grand Avenue. The suspect remained at large Monday.
The incident, while it doesn’t appear to be related to Glenwood’s issues this summer with vagrancy, could help influence city budget decisions.
City Council members Todd Leahy and Kathryn Trauger said Monday that the recent increase in serious crime in Glenwood, coupled with ongoing concerns about an increase in the transient population, will result in a broader discussion about adding more police resources.
Leahy said the stabbing is an unfortunate incident, but not necessarily part of the vagrancy issue.
At the same time, “That’s part of why we, as a council, have asked the Police Department to use overtime hours to show a police presence on foot downtown,” he said. “That presence, if nothing else, gives a perception of safety for our downtown visitors.
“You can have all the safety measures in place and people are still going to do what they’re going to do,” he said. “I would hate to put anything onto this as anything but an isolated incident that happened.”
Trauger said police statistics show an increase in the number of felonies in town this year, “and the use of drugs is also increasing. We need to look for ways to address this. Our police do a really good job in looking at these things, but if the trend continues, maybe we do need to look at increasing the resources available to them.”
As for the stabbing incident, “It is a public safety concern when things like this happen, and quite honestly it’s a black eye for Glenwood Springs and the community,” Trauger said. “Sadly, I’m afraid people are not going to dig deep enough to find out exactly what happened, and that transforms to some negative opinions.”
In the incident shortly after midnight Saturday, Wilson said, a group of four men were gathered near a closed liquor store when two other men walked by. The group of four was composed of men of Mexican descent who later told police that they thought the two men walking by were Salvadorans who made disparaging remarks about the Mexicans’ heritage.
A fight broke out, with one of the passers-by pulling a knife. When the rumble ended, two of the men in the group of four realized they’d been stabbed.
“You’d be surprised how often that happens,” Wilson said. “The adrenaline stops and they see blood” as the first indication of a stab wound.
The victims, 37 and 38 years old, went to the hospital, which is required to report such incidents to police, who might not otherwise have learned of the fight, Wilson said.
He said police found what they believe is the blade of the large cooking knife used in the attack, which apparently broke off at the handle.
Violent incidents in downtown Glenwood Springs are rare despite the increase in felonies this year. Wilson said the town typically sees one or two violent crimes in the downtown area per year.
Like most such crimes, Sunday’s was “kind of like a bar fight,” Wilson said. “If you aren’t in the bar, you don’t have reason to be concerned” about the people involved.
“If you aren’t hanging out at 12:30 at night in front of a closed liquor store,” your risk is lowered, Wilson said.
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.