Top stories of 2007: Glenwood Springs police officer shot
Glenwood Springs – People were shocked to learn that Glenwood Springs Police Officer Dustin Marantino was shot in the line of duty on July 29.
He survived because he wore a bullet-proof vest.Authorities have refused to comment or unseal relevant documents to the investigation, leaving only speculation about why two men were arrested and released in connection with the crime.The assailants are still at large.
Marantino has since taken a job with the Rifle Police Department that he had planned on accepting before the shooting. Marantino was shot while on patrol in a dark area near an impound lot just south of the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport. He saw a figure climbing on the lot’s fence and got out to investigate. Two men appeared and started to walk away. One man then turned and fired multiple shots, hitting Marantino once square in the chest.
After searching the area through the night with a variety of methods including helicopters, authorities switched toward investigation tactics on July 30. Composite sketches of suspects were released.On Aug. 4, Anthony Villegas was arrested on outstanding warrants. Police said he knew something about the shooting, but never accused him of being involved. On Aug. 5, Sergio Esteban Ramirez was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer. On Aug. 9, Mauricio Villa Garcia Peña was arrested on suspicion of being an accomplice to the shooting.Groups of supporters appeared at the advisement hearings, declaring the men were innocent. After the men sat in jail for about two weeks, the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office decided to release the pair – both 20 at the time – for lack of evidence. Authorities said the arrests were not mistakes and called the releases a “strategic decision” to buy time for investigation.
Family and friends said the two men were unfairly targeted and arrested in an inappropriate manner, and that authorities obviously had the wrong men. It came out in November that there was also a fourth man arrested in connection with the shooting who was released later the same day after passing a polygraph test. Further details on that arrest weren’t released.District Attorney Martin Beeson has said he would oppose unsealing affidavits that would help explain why the two were arrested. He also wouldn’t discuss the reasons in more general terms, saying that doing so could expose witnesses to harm or compromise the investigation.
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