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Suspect identified in shooting death of Cortez Police Sgt. Michael Moran

44-year-old man was shot and killed after roadside stop
Police tape marks off the crime scene where Cortez Police Department Sgt. Michael Moran was shot and killed during a traffic stop Wednesday in southwest Cortez, near the Handy Mart, at 806 South Broadway. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation on Saturday identified the man suspected of shooting Cortez Police Sgt. Michael Moran earlier this week during a traffic stop in southwest Cortez.

The suspect, who was killed after a shootout with law enforcement, was identified as Jason Campbell, 44, from Ogden, Utah.

Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers said Campbell died from at least one gunshot wound, but he declined to say how many times Campbell was shot. He said some wounds appear to be grazing wounds.

“At this time, we’re still trying to sort it out,” he said.

He also confirmed that Moran died from at least one gunshot wound, but he declined to say how many times the officer was shot, saying he wanted that information to come from law enforcement.

The suspect had a mother who lives in Utah and a son who is under the age of 18, Deavers said. The suspect also may have had ties to Albuquerque.

The shooting occurred about 11:25 a.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of South Broadway (U.S. Highway 160/491), across from the Handy Mart service station.

Moran stopped Campbell on suspicion of reckless driving. At some point during the traffic stop, Campbell fired a gun at the officer before driving way, according to the Cortez Police Department.

Law enforcement has released few details about the shooting, including whether Campbell got out of his vehicle before firing a shot or whether Moran returned fire. No motive has been given about why Campbell fired on Moran.

Tom Stokley, owner of the Handy Mart, said a video was posted briefly on social media showing the shooting. He viewed the video Wednesday but said it appeared to have been removed as of Thursday.

Stokley said he spoke with law enforcement and has acquaintances at the police department. It is his understanding Moran was shot in the upper torso, possibly just above his bulletproof vest. He also said the officer had a female passenger in the vehicle, possibly a woman seeking to become a dispatcher.

The police department has declined to confirm information about Moran’s passenger.

Campbell also had a woman in his passenger seat, according to the service station owner.

Law enforcement confirmed a passenger in the suspect’s vehicle. They said the passenger was briefly detained, interviewed and has since been released, which means law enforcement has no suspects in custody and no one is being sought in connection with the shooting.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said the investigation remains active. The agency, which is leading the investigation, did not release any additional information Saturday morning.

After the shooting, Moran was taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

The suspect continued driving south on U.S. 160/491 for about 1½ miles before making a left turn into Aces Storage, a self-storage facility just outside Cortez city limits.


It was there where an officer with the Cortez Police Department and a deputy with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office located the suspect “within minutes” and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, killing him, Sheriff Steve Nowlin said.

Moran was a K-9 handler and former Marine who served two tours in Iraq before joining the Cortez Police Department. His K-9, Otto, died about a month before he did.

In the early hours Saturday, the Cortez Police Department posted a note on Facebook thanking the community for its support and care.

“Thank you for the continued thoughts, prayers, food, gifts, offers of service, calls and emails,” the post reads. “We spend much of today taking care of our agency family and Mike’s family.”

The Hundred Club of Durango and the 100 Club of Montezuma County have both given $7,500 to Sgt. Moran’s family, which include two daughters, said Don Mapel, founder and outgoing president of the Durango club.