S.O. release details on errant bullet

The sketchy details of the fate of a Sheriffs deputy’s stray bullet that ended up in an Edgemont kitchen became clearer this week. On Tuesday, the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office released details of the early morning incident, which took place Fri., July 11, at the subdivision northeast of Durango. 

According to a press release from Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Dan Bender, the shot was fired during a suicidal standoff that began shortly after midnight July 11.

At about 12:51 a.m., Durango-La Plata Emergency Dispatch received a 911 call from Andrew Baros, 29, requesting help. A despondent Baros, an Army veteran, reported that he was heavily armed and threatened to shoot officers and himself. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Baros had an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and a large cache of ammunition.

Officers arrived at a condo in the Silver Queen area of Edgemont at 1:12 a.m. It was then that Baros, who was preventing his girlfriend, Katherina Shirley, 24, from leaving, released her. A standoff ensued for the next hour and a half, during which time Baros reportedly moved between the condo and nearby woods. Since Baros was outside, officers decided against evacuating people from their homes.

About half an hour later, at 1:58 a.m., Baros moved out from behind a building and confronted Deputy Zachary Farnam. Farman reportedly ordered Baros to drop his weapons, but Baros took aim at Farnam with his shotgun. In apparent self-defense, Farnam fired a shot and dove for cover. The bullet missed Baros, whizzing off into the night.

Unbeknownst to all involved, the bullet buzzed through the wall of the house of Bud Andersen, Baros’ adjoining neighbor. The bullet went through a bedroom closet before ricocheting off the refrigerator and landing on the kitchen floor. At the time, Andersen and his daughter, Shelby, 6, were asleep.

However, the gun shot awoke Andersen, who went outside to see what the ruckus was about. Officers ordered him back inside while they diffused the situation with Baros.

For the next 40 minutes, Farnam negotiated with Baros by cell phone until about 2:38 a.m., when Baros came out of his residence, laid down his weapons and surrendered.  

Over the course of the next few hours, deputies checked nearby homes, including Anderson’s, to make sure residents were OK. Anderson reportedly told officers he and his daughter were safe. However, it wasn’t until a few hours later, at 6:30 a.m. when deputies returned, that the bullet was discovered on Andersen’s kitchen floor.

Andersen went public with his story the following week in the Durango Herald, complaining over the response time from the Sheriff’s Office.

For his part, Baros was booked into La Plata County jail, where he was charged with assault, menacing, harassment and false imprisonment. He bonded out July 14. 

Sliver of hope for Broncos season

Colorado’s senators are once again going to the mat for Four Corners TV watchers. On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet, both Democrats, urged the House of Representatives to seize the opportunity to connect Four Corners residents with Denver TV.

The appeal came in advance of this week’s voting on the bipartisan Telecommunications Bill – a five-year renewal of various telecommunication and copyright laws. Udall and Bennet are seeking passage of their “Colorado NEWS Act,” which is part of the bill, urging lawmakers to act on behalf of the people of Durango, Cortez and the Four Corners to ensure access to Colorado news, weather, emergency information and all-important Denver Broncos games.

The Colorado NEWS Act would amend the Communications Act of 1934 and copyright laws to allow residents of La Plata and Montezuma counties to receive Colorado broadcast stations by satellite or cable.

“Common sense tells you that if you live in Colorado, you should have access to Colorado news, sports, and emergency information. Unfortunately, Southwest Colorado has been unfairly disconnected from the rest of the state because of the antiquated way TV markets are created,” Bennet said. “The Colorado NEWS Act ... would fix this problem once and for all.”

The Colorado NEWS Act would:

- Allow TV providers to transmit signals from Colorado-based broadcast stations to viewers in La Plata and Montezuma counties.

- Resolve copyright concerns regarding the ability of providers to transmit Colorado and New Mexico TV signals.

- Enable broadcasters and TV providers to determine a fair way to offer all Coloradans 24-hour access to news, information, weather and sports most relevant to them.

Udall and Bennet have long championed the cause of bringing Colorado programming to rural residents, but prior efforts at legisaltion have failed. Udall recently visited Durango with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to discuss ways to bring Colorado TV to the area.

“The people of Durango, Cortez and surrounding communities deserve access to Colorado TV,” Udall said. “The House has an opportunity and responsibility to join me in solving this longstanding problem through the Colorado NEWS Act.”

Missy Votel