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Texas man arrested on suspicion of burglary, shooting up a house north of Durango

Reverse-911 call issued to Hermosa-area residents

A Texas man has been arrested on suspicion of breaking into a house and firing multiple gunshots inside the home Sunday evening north of Durango.

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office issued a reverse-911 call to residents in the Hermosa area warning them to shelter in place.

The incident began shortly after 6 p.m. when a Hermosa man who lives on Animosa Drive reported returning home from a grocery trip to find multiple windows broken, a door forced open and spent shell casings near a door, according to an arrest affidavit. The man also found a white truck that had been driven through his backyard and apparently became stuck in an irrigation ditch.

Deputies were already in the area investigating earlier reports of erratic driving and gunshots heard in the area.

Law enforcement established a perimeter around the house.

During the course of the investigation, a deputy approached the white pickup truck that was stuck in the irrigation ditch. The truck had a veterans license plate issued out of Texas and a .45 caliber handgun on the passenger seat. The deputy also found a “large amount” of tactical and combat gear, several rifle magazines and a small dog in the back seat of the truck.

While approaching the house, the deputy found a small black handgun in the grass about 20 to 30 yards from the suspect’s vehicle.

The deputy then heard a noise in the bushes and saw a man approach him. Deputies detained the man at gunpoint at 6:24 p.m., according to the arrest affidavit.

The man was identified as John Paul Root, 34, of Longview, Texas, east of Dallas.

Root appeared to be heavily intoxicated, with a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage, according to the affidavit. He was unsteady on his feet and had trouble following commands, the deputy wrote in his report.

Root told deputies he had flown into Durango earlier that day and was drinking on the flight. Once in Durango, he went to Tacos Nayarit and consumed more alcohol, according to the affidavit. He said he remembered getting into his truck, but not what happened after that.

Deputies cleared the house, and during that process found several locations inside the home where a firearm had been discharged, causing “extensive property damage,” according to the affidavit.

Areas shot included the floor, ceiling, windows and kitchen oven.

Numerous spent shell casing and live rounds were found inside the home, from guns with two different calibers.

Root also had a receipt from Tacos Nayarit timestamped 3:39 p.m. from earlier that day.

He was being held Monday at the La Plata County Jail on $10,000 bail on suspicion of felony burglary.


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