Log In

Reset Password

UPDATE: Man in Balsam Street gun case is released

Suspect arrested Monday on domestic violence case
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jason Belmont’s squad car blocks Hermosa Street, a block from Balsam Street, where an armed man was located.

A local man was arrested Monday morning on domestic violence charges about 14 hours after police warned residents that an armed man presented a “significant threat” to residents in a Cortez neighborhood.

Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane said Charles D. Head, 45, of 812 Balsam St., was arrested at 6 a.m. Monday while walking down the street. He said he was on his way to turn himself in.

Head was arrested on charges of felony menacing, domestic violence and harassment, according to Lane.

During a county court appearance on Monday afternoon, Head was granted release from jail on a personal recognizance bond. A non-harassing contact protection order for his wife was issued. Head has no prior criminal record.

Head’s wife urged that the court grant the personal recognizance bond. She stated that she was not afraid of her husband, but that he needs counseling.

As a condition of bond, Montezuma County court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence required that Head turn over all guns and weapons to authorities before he could return home. According to court records, one of the guns in the home is an AR-15.

Head also was required to sign up for a mental health evaluation and not use alcohol or illegal drugs. Head’s next court date is for Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. for filing of charges.

Head’s arrest and court appearance wrapped up a high-profile police action in Cortez that began Sunday afternoon.

Late Sunday afternoon, several Cortez and Colorado State Patrol officers blocked streets for more than two hours after police announced on an emergency email system that an armed man was inside a home on Balsam Street. The email advised residents in the area to take shelter.

Officers responded to the home based on information that threats had been made and there were several guns inside, Lane said. He said alcohol use was suspected in the case.

Head’s wife reported the incident to police Sunday after leaving the home, Lane said.

In an effort to avoid escalating the situation, Lane said, he had officers wait outside the home instead of attempting to enter and directly contact Head. Police decided not to arrest Head on Sunday night and kept the residence under surveillance overnight.

Head was not arrested until the following morning.

“We figured the best way to handle it was to back off and wait, then settle it peacefully, and that was done,” Lane said. “Nobody got hurt, so it went well.”

Lane emphasized that the police action was not a standoff. No guns were pointed at officers, he said.

The public was alerted of the situation on Sunday via the Nixle messaging system, a notification service for police departments, county emergency offices and municipal governments. It also is available to residents. It provided few details.

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Cortez Dispatch emailed a Nixle alert warning residents that an armed man was reported in the 800 block of Balsam Street. The Nixle emails from Lori Johnson of Cortez Dispatch on Sunday and Monday stated that the situation was “immediate” and “severe,” with “significant threat to life or property.”

The notice advised residents in the neighborhood to take shelter in place or stay away from the area. It was in effect from 4:26 p.m. Sunday to 5:03 a.m. Monday, when Cortez Dispatch sent Nixle alert stating that “the situation on Balsam Street has been resolved.” “All clear,” the message said.

Sunday night, Lane said the man had not threatened suicide or threatened to shoot anyone on that street, and he was not arrested.

“We’re just going to hang loose and see what happens,” Lane said.

Police and State Patrol officers were on the scene, and roads in the area were blocked as they took positions at intersections near Balsam Street. The scene was cleared about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Few details were available until Monday morning, after Head was arrested.

One officer at the scene on Sunday said officers were instructed not to talk about what was happening. At least two Cortez dispatchers responded to calls from The Journal by repeating only the information that a dispatcher had included in an earlier Nixle alert. Calls for comment and details on Sunday night and Monday morning were referred to Lane.

Head was booked into the Montezuma County Detention Center about 6:20 a.m. Monday, according to Heather Mann, records manager at the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office.

Mar 9, 2018
Police release new details about Balsam Street case
Feb 28, 2018
Bond conditions waived for Cortez Balsam Street suspect
Feb 16, 2018
Police Blotter
Jan 18, 2018
Kevin Wade Folsom charged with first-degree murder
Jan 16, 2018
Judge declines to reduce bond in Cortez murder case
Jan 15, 2018
Driver eludes officers in stretch from Cortez to Shiprock
Jan 12, 2018
Texas man pleads not guilty in shooting death of Durangoan