Cortez Police Sgt. Michael Moran has been identified as the police officer who died early Wednesday afternoon after being shot during a traffic stop on South Broadway, according to the Cortez Police Department.
Shots rang out during a traffic stop on South Broadway about 11:25 a.m. near Handy Mart, injuring Moran after he initiated the stop.
The suspects fled and were located at the 7500 block on Highway 160/491 near Aces Storage, 1½ miles away.
There, gunfire was exchanged between the suspects and police. One suspect died at the scene and the second was taken into custody.
Moran, 46, served his country as a Marine for nine years, including two tours in Iraq, before joining the Cortez Police Department in 2012, the police department said in a news release about 5:10 p.m. Moran became a K-9 handler in 2016.
“He was most proud of his canine partner Otto who served by his side until retiring in 2020. Sgt. Michael Moran will be remembered by his fellow officers for his dedication and sense of humor. He leaves behind two daughters, many friends and family,” the police department said.
A police escort and a hearse left the hospital about 4 p.m.
Flags in the area have been lowered to half-staff in support of the Cortez Police Department, according to the statement. This is the first death of a Cortez police officer in the line of duty since officer Dale Claxton was killed during a traffic stop in 1998.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released a statement in response to news of Moran’s death.
“I am saddened to hear of the tragic passing of the Cortez police officer in the line of duty. My thoughts and prayers are with their family, as well as the Cortez Police Department and the community during this time. This officer dedicated their career to serving and protecting their community,” Polis said.
Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-2 announced at 11:56 a.m. that it went into “secure” status. At 12:16 p.m. it announced that school operations had returned to normal.
The Colorado State Patrol and Cortez Police Department responded to the scene and managed traffic, detouring southbound drivers to San Juan Drive and south on Hartman Road to continue south on South Broadway to U.S. 160/491.
Travel was further restricted about 2:30 p.m.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.