Property dispute in Colorado leaves 3 dead, 1 critically wounded and suspect on the run

Property dispute in Colorado leaves 3 dead, 1 critically wounded and suspect on the run

A suspect accused of fatally shooting three people and wounding a fourth in Colorado on Monday night has been arrested in New Mexico, the Custer County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The shootings in the rural Colorado community of Westcliffe prompted a manhunt for Hanme K. Clark.

U.S. marshals and New Mexico State Police arrested Clark in Albuquerque on Tuesday, the sheriff's office said. Sheriff Rich Smith told reporters he was informed at 2:48 p.m.

“The best resolution for us is that nobody else got hurt, no cops got hurt, and the suspect also did not get hurt,” Smith said.

The sheriff’s office responded to a report of gunshots near Westcliffe, about 80 miles south of Colorado Springs, just before 1 p.m. Monday.

Authorities have said the shooting was a “suspected property dispute," and the victims have property bordering that of the suspect.

The victims were identified Tuesday as Rob Geers, 63; his wife, Beth Wade Geers, 73; and James Daulton, 58.

Daulton's wife, Patty Daulton, was wounded but survived and was being treated at a trauma center, Smith said.

suspect murder (Custer County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
suspect murder (Custer County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The location of the shooting is a "remote area in the county," Smith said. A SWAT team arrived about 20 minutes after the sheriff's office responded to the reports of gunfire, he said.

Deputies used thermal imaging, night vision equipment and drones during the search. Residents were told to stay inside while authorities canvassed for the suspect. The shelter-in-place order was lifted at 8:13 p.m.

The sheriff's office said the shooting took place at 173 Rocky Ridge Road, in woods on a property line. The suspect and neighbors in the area had complained about each other in the past, Smith said.

"We've been to this suspect's house several times," he told reporters, noting that deputies deal with property line disputes every day.

"The county actually started in 1876, right after the Civil War, and the lines aren't as formal as they would be in the big city, and so there's a lot of this that has to be straightened out in courts to figure out where the property lines are," he said.

The focus was on arresting the suspect, but a lengthy investigation will now follow, Smith said Tuesday.

A woman was in the vehicle with the suspect when he was arrested, Smith said. "We’re going to ascertain what her involvement is in this situation," he said.

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