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Week in Review

The man suspected of shooting a Colorado State Patrol trooper Tuesday night is dead.Steven Joseph Appl, 33, who was identified as the main suspect in the shooting of trooper Brian Koch, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday night.At approximately 6:52 Wednesday night a four-door pickup truck approached a law enforcement checkpoint at the intersection of County Roads 331 and 311 (Dry Hollow and Divide Creek roads). According to information provided by trooper Gilbert Mares of the Colorado State Patrol Denver headquarters, officers at the checkpoint approached the vehicle, which was driven by an unidentified female. When authorities confronted the driver, they heard a single gunshot from the back seat. The officers investigated and discovered a deceased male, dead from a single gunshot.Trooper Koch stopped a vehicle believed to have been driven by Appl at 11:20 Tuesday night on County Road 346, which runs just south of Interstate 70 between Silt and Rifle. According to State Patrol Capt. Rich Duran “there was an altercation outside the vehicle,” after Koch pulled the vehicle over.Koch was shot in the arm and twice at the chest, but a bulletproof vest prevented the bullets from penetrating his chest. Koch, 38, sustained a gunshot wound in the left forearm. Duran acknowledged that Koch fired his weapon, a semi-automatic handgun, but would not say how many times he fired or if the suspect was shot.According to Duran, the shooter drove away in his car, a purple Chevy Cobalt with Arizona plates, and went off the Dry Hollow Road about three miles south of Silt. He abandoned the car and fled on foot.Koch was able to call for assistance and he was transported to Grand River Medical Center in Rifle, then flown to St. Mary’s Hospital where he underwent surgery. He is listed in good condition, Duran said.

A DeBeque woman who said she “freaked out” after discovering a suspected cop shooter hiding out in a Silt-area bedroom has been arrested after allegedly trying to aid in his escape.Cori Elizabeth Graham, 27, was arrested shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday and was freed from Garfield County Jail Thursday after posting bonds totaling $8,250. She is charged with felony counts of being an accessory to a crime and tampering with evidence, and a misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer.Police say Graham had been driving a red pickup truck in which Steven Appl shot himself after it was stopped at a checkpoint Wednesday night. Appl had been the subject of a manhunt after being named as the suspect in the shooting Tuesday night of Colorado State Patrol trooper Brian Koch.Graham told investigation task force members she knew Appl was in trouble for allegedly shooting an officer, but didn’t know where he was.Graham said she then contacted a longtime friend, identified in the affidavit as Nikki Brownel, at a DeBeque-area bar. Graham said Brownel asked for a ride home, and the two arrived at a residence on County Road 331 in the Silt area.Graham said Brownel led her to a bedroom, where Appl was sitting on a bed.”Cori advised that she started to ‘freak out.’ Cori then told me that Nikki told her that the cops would be coming any minute wanting to search the house,” a law enforcement source wrote.Graham said Brownel and Appl wanted her to drive Appl to Silt, where she would leave the car with him and Brownel would pick her up later.”Cori then explained that Nikki wanted Steven out of the house and that he ended up getting in the back seat area of her vehicle,” the affidavit stated.It continued, “Cori stated that Steven told her that if the cops questioned her to tell the cops that he had threatened her into driving him out of the area. Cori also advised that Steven told her if anything happened he would probably end up shooting himself.”

Evidence is increasing that the man presumed to have shot a Colorado state trooper this week used methamphetamine and associated with others involved in meth culture.That evidence includes the possible discovery of meth where Steven Appl lived, the statement of a former boss that Appl had been using the drug and recent meth-related arrests of a woman being investigated in connection with Appl’s attempts to escape the area after the shooting.Police say Appl, 33, shot and seriously wounded trooper Brian Koch late Tuesday night south of Silt. They say Appl then killed himself the next evening after the vehicle he was in was stopped at a checkpoint at the bottom of Dry Hollow Road. An autopsy confirmed that Appl died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Garfield County Coroner Trey Holt said Friday. Deputy coroner Steve Pollard told the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction this week that preliminary tests show Appl had meth in his system. However, Holt declined to confirm that, saying he didn’t want to comment until he receives the toxicology results.



Developers of affordable housing at Glenwood Meadows won a recommendation Tuesday night that a park requirement be further delayed to help make the project possible.The city Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously agreed to postpone the time line for building the park, which developers say will cost $350,000. City Council last year already had agreed to one delay, giving developers 24 months to build the park. The commission’s recommendation will be considered Nov. 2 by council, which also is considering fee waivers and other concessions totaling more than $1 million.The city approved the 120-unit rental housing development late last year. However, developers say skyrocketing construction costs since then have driven up the project price tag by millions of dollars, requiring new city concessions to make it possible.They also have obtained a $1.5 million cash commitment from Garfield County to help in funding a development seen as meeting a critical housing need in the Glenwood area.The one-acre park is required as part of the original annexation and development agreement for Glenwood Meadows, which includes both commercial and residential components. Developers eventually envision building a total of 300 apartments and also could build 175 single-family homes.Developers asked that the park requirement be delayed until the second phase of the apartment portion of the development is built because the first phase is heavily loaded with infrastructure costs that future phases won’t face.The developers, which include landowner Glenwood Meadows LLC, recently modified their delay request to offer to donate the parkland to the city if they fail to build the park by a certain date.City community development director Andrew McGregor generally supported that idea, but worried about the city possibly having to take on the $350,000 cost of developing the park. He recommended to P&Z that the proposal be modified so developers will have to provide bonding or other means of financial security to cover the cost of the park construction, even if phase two is never built and the park falls into the city’s hands.

As Garfield County’s mayors are touting their unanimous endorsement of her opponent, county Assessor Shannon Hurst is questioning the appropriateness of mayors endorsing at all.The six mayors have been publicizing their support for Democrat John Gorman in a news release, letter to the editor and advertising. They include Michael Hassig of Carbondale, Bruce Christensen of Glenwood Springs, Frank Breslin of New Castle, Dave Moore of Silt, Keith Lambert of Rifle and Roy McClung of Parachute.While most are Democrats, Moore is a Republican. “This is definitely not a partisan issue,” Moore said.Said Hurst, a Republican, “It kinds of worries me. Are they endorsing him as an individual or are they endorsing for the entire town? When they endorse as a mayor I tend to think it’s for the entire town, which I don’t think is right.”Said Christensen, “So she’s saying I don’t have the rights of citizenship?”He said he is entitled to express his political viewpoints, just like anyone else, and isn’t speaking for the city of Glenwood Springs. “I would hope that there is no illusion of that,” he said.


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