Saturday, August 29, 2020

Early morning shooting in the desert

8/31/20 Update: Upon further investigation, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office investigators have identified a second shooting victim related to Saturday's incident. Both shooting victims have sought medical attention and are expected to recover.

Investigators continue to interview witnesses to determine the circumstances around the shooting. It is believed the incident happened during a late-night party in the desert area of 27 1/4 Rd near the dam.

The case is still under investigation.

If anyone has information about this crime, please contact the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 242-6707. 



MESA COUNTY, Colo – At approximately 3:15 a.m. Saturday, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to St. Mary’s Hospital to investigate a possible shooting.

The adult male arrived at the emergency room conscious and breathing with a gunshot wound. Upon investigation, it was determined the man was shot in the desert area of 27 1/4 Rd near the dam.

Investigators are interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still under investigation.

If anyone has information about this crime please contact the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 242-6707.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

MCSO joins Neighbors App

MESA COUNTY, Colo – The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has joined the Neighbors App to engage with community members and improve safety in Mesa County. The Neighbors App is free a social media platform designed for neighbors to share information about local crime and safety incidents to keep fellow residents informed. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is utilizing this new platform to connect with residents and work in partnership to reduce crime in local neighborhoods.

Neighbors App users can share photos and videos directly with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office to help solve local crimes. Deputies can directly inform community members of recent crimes, offer safety tips, and issue safety alerts specific to their neighborhood. Deputies may also ask community members to share relevant video surveillance to help solve crimes. Residents can then choose to share video directly through the Neighbors App. It is important to note, it is the resident’s choice on whether or not to share video with deputies. This app does not give deputies access to home security systems.

Anyone with a smartphone can download the Neighbors App to receive updates and have the option to post photos or videos from any device. You do not need a Ring device to join Neighbors. Neighbors is not proprietary to Ring and will accept all brands of video systems, cell phone video, and images.

We know when communities work together safer neighborhoods are the result. This new community partnership gives residents the ability to take a more active role in reducing crime in their neighborhood.

Neighbors App is not a replacement for 911. If you have an emergency, please call 911. To report a crime call (970) 242-6707 or visit

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Pine Gulch Fire: New Wildfire Resource

Ash collecting on a parked Mesa County Sheriff's Office vehicle
MESA COUNTY, Colo - This morning, many of us woke up to our cars and homes covered in ash. The ash is from the Pine Gulch Fire currently burning approximately 125,000 acres about 18 miles north of Grand Junction in both Mesa and Garfield Counties. To view an interactive map of where the fire is currently burning click here.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office is working closely with the Pine Gulch Fire incident management team to ensure the safety of our community. We are actively engaged in fire management and will keep Mesa County residents informed of the fire's progress. Currently, there are no evacuation orders for residents in Mesa County.

Road Closures
Due to fire activity, several roads have been closed to the public. 

Southeast of Fire
  • Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork Road (200)
  • V 2/10 Road southwest of De Beque
  • Coal Canyon Road just past the Cameo Shooting Range
Southwest of Fire 
  • Highway 139 north of Loma between Mile Point 6 and 39 (CDOT closure)
  • 21 Road north of the BLM boundary
  • 16 Road at V 8/10 Road
  • Q 5/10 Road is closed at 18 Road

New Online Resource
To help keep the public informed, we've created an online Fire Information Resource. Here you will find the latest information from the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team about the Pine Gulch Fire as well as health and safety resources related to wildfires.  

Smoke and ash will continue to affect our community as fire crews work diligently to contain this fire. Please limit your time outdoors.  As you work to clean up the ash, avoid stirring up or sifting through ash as much as you can. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends:
  • Mist areas with ash to keep the dust down. Follow with wet mopping. 
  • Use a damp cloth or wet mop on lightly dusted areas. 
  • When you wet down ash, use as little water as you can.
Please take a moment to review this EPA guide on how to safely clean up ash. More information can be found on our website.

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions
Mesa County is currently in Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. The region is experiencing extreme drought and dangerous fire conditions. Learn more about you can help us prevent more fires.

Sign up for Emergency Alerts
Mesa County uses an Emergency Notification System to provide essential information quickly during an emergency. Landlines are automatically signed up for the Emergency Notification System, however, cell phone users need to sign up. To get an alert sent to your cell phone sign up here.

For the latest information about the Pine Gulch Fire click here.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Pine Gulch Fire: Road Closures north of Fruita

Due to fire activity and the need for fire crews to work safely, the following roads are closed to the public:
  • Q 5/10 Road is closed at 18 Road.
  • 16 Road is closed prior to V 8/10 Road.
  • 21 Road northbound is closed starting approximately three miles north of the BLM boundary. 
On the east side of the fire, Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200) road remains closed.

Thank you for keeping these areas clear for fire personnel. The road closures are not only for the public’s safety but also for firefighters working in the area.

For the latest information about the Pine Gulch Fire click here or follow the fire's Facebook page.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions begin August 14, 2020

MESA COUNTY, Colo - The Mesa County Sheriff, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Fire Chiefs representing municipalities, and fire protection districts of Mesa County are implementing Stage 2 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 14th, 2020. This order applies to all of Mesa County, including the Colorado National Monument, BLM administered public lands with the EXCEPTION of land managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

“We’ve monitored our severe and extreme drought conditions all summer. We have reached the point where additional fire restrictions are warranted in the interest of safety,” said Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis. “When our community works together to exercise caution during high fire danger conditions, we can significantly reduce human-caused fires.”

Fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria to include the moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors, and firefighting resource availability. Hot, dry, windy conditions combined with dry fuels have created dangerous fire conditions with no weather relief in sight. The National Weather Service is forecasting continued above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation.

“We have the benefit of being able to observe fire behavior, rather than just using modeling. Right now, extreme fire behavior has become the norm driven by critically dry fuel conditions. Any new starts have the potential to exhibit extreme fire behavior as well. That’s why it’s paramount to work together to prevent any more fires,” said Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Fire Behavior Analyst Timothy Foley.

Recently, our region has had several significant fires that have forced people from their homes and used a considerable amount of fire suppression resources. Two of those fires were human-caused, the Ruby Lee Fire and the MM 45 Fire.

“We cannot afford to have fires start in these conditions, and we need everyone to do their part to make sure we are following Stage 2 guidance for how to prevent fires,” said Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins.

Our community is currently impacted by the Pine Gulch Fire, which has burned nearly 70,000 acres and affected our air quality with smoke. With relative humidity so low and gusty erratic winds, fire suppression efforts become a challenge.

“We have extremely hot and dry conditions and the fire danger is high right now. We ask the public to please follow these restrictions and be cautious while out on public lands." Grand Junction Field Manager Greg Wolfgang.

What Stage 2 Fire Restrictions Mean

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions prohibit the use of anything that produces an open flame that is not liquid-fueled or gas-fueled on both public land and private residences. The general rule of thumb is if the fire can be “turned off,” rather than “put out,” it is allowed.

  • Parking or driving a motor vehicle off established roads, motorized trails, or established parking areas unless the parking area has no vegetation within 10 feet of the vehicle.
  • Building, maintaining, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood-burning stove, sheepherder’s stove, tiki torches, fire pits, and chimineas including in developed picnic, camping areas, and at private residences (outdoors).
  • The use of ANY fireworks.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  • Any unpermitted use of fire to burn debris or vegetation.
  • Shooting tracer rounds or explosive type targets or the use of explosives including fuses, blasting caps, and rockets.
  • Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame EXCEPT in cleared areas of at least 10 ft in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher. Activity Prohibited on Federal Land.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine such as a chainsaw, generator or ATV, without a spark arresting device installed and working properly. Chainsaws also have to be operated with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a shovel nearby.

  • Only devices that are liquid-fueled or gas-fueled are permitted. Gas grills, stoves or lanterns with shut-off valves may be used at least three feet away from flammable materials such as dry vegetation.
  • Gas fire pits are allowed under a fire ban as the fire can be “turned off” rather than “put out.”
  • Agricultural burns only with a SHERIFF’S OFFICE ISSUED PERMIT. Click here for an application.
  • Any indoor fireplaces or indoor wood burning stoves used for heat. Please make sure there is a spark arrestor in working order.   

View Interactive Fire Restrictions Map at

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

MCSO and Clifton Fire Protection District investigate a fatal fire

MESA COUNTY, Colo - At approximately 8:00 Monday evening, fire crews with the Clifton Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire at 3272 F Road.

When the first engine arrived, fire crews found the older four-unit apartment building fully involved. The Grand Junction Fire Department and Palisade Fire Department also responded.

A witness said the fire spread very rapidly, describing they saw smoke, and then the whole building was on fire almost immediately.

Three people evacuated safely. An adult female and a cat died in the fire. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office is responsible for releasing the identity of the deceased once next-of-kin is notified as well as determining the cause and manner of death.

Crews worked into the night and were able to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring buildings. All four units in the apartment complex were heavily damaged.

The American Red Cross is assisting those impacted by this fire with their recovery needs.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire. So far, fire investigators have determined the cause of the fire to be accidental in nature. No smoke detectors were found inside the apartment complex.

The case is still under investigation.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Inmate death at the Mesa County Jail

10/12/20 Update: The Mesa County Coroner's Office has completed additional testing and released the following statement:

"This is a follow-up media release regarding the death of Andre Steele, a 33-year-old male resident of Grand Junction, Colorado. Mr. Steele was the male that died in the jail on August 8, 2020. The cause of death was cardiac hypertrophy and the manner is natural. His toxicology came back with his medications within therapeutic ranges and negative for any illicit drugs.

The law enforcement agency overseeing this investigation is the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Please contact them for any further details regarding this case."


8/10/20 Update: The Mesa County Coroner's Office released the following statement:

"The Mesa County Coroner’s Office has completed its examination regarding the death of Andre Steele, a 33-year-old male resident of Grand Junction, Colorado. Mr. Steele was the male that died in the jail on August 8, 2020. The cause and the manner of death is pending for additional testing and actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.

The law enforcement agency overseeing this investigation is the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Please contact them for any further details regarding this case."

MESA COUNTY, Colo: On the morning of 08/08/20, a 33-year-old male, who was being held in the Mesa County Detention Facility on felony charges relating to domestic violence, was found unresponsive by his cellmates. Deputies and medical staff immediately attempted life-saving measures while the Grand Junction Fire Department responded to the Detention Facility. The inmate was declared deceased at the scene. The inmate was not on a suicide watch. The case is being investigated by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and the Mesa County Coroner. Next of kin has been notified. The Coroner’s Office will release the inmate’s name as well as the cause and manner of death.