David Gaines, 17, Killed by Cop After Violent 12-Minute Crime Spree

At this writing, photos of seventeen-year-old Grand Junction resident David Gaines have yet to surface.

However, the other images shared here offer an indication of the damage he left behind before being shot and killed by police in Grand Junction after a violent crime spree that lasted just twelve minutes.

The situation allegedly began with a fight between Gaines and his father that escalated into a crash that killed Preston Ellis, a 57-year-old motorcyclist, and a carjacking attempt that was interrupted by a fatal shot from an officer's gun.

The Grand Junction Police Department has released an uncommonly thorough narrative describing the incident, which took place late in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 19.

At around 5:45 p.m. that day, Gaines was involved in what the GJPD describes as a "physical alteration" with his dad at the family home, located on the Redlands, a residential area of the community.

The father sustained unspecified injuries as a result of the fight.

Meanwhile, the account continues, Gaines left his home in a silver pickup truck. He took with him a long gun and a backpack whose contents included ammunition.

Approximately four minutes later, the truck collided head on with Ellis's motorcycle on Grand Avenue, between 8th and 9th streets; the stretch of roadway is close to Grand Junction's downtown area.

Investigators believe Gaines was driving at a high rate of speed when he veered into the westbound lane, striking the motorcycle and killing Ellis.

The truck also struck a parked car before it came to a rest.

Gaines then dismounted and began walking away from the wreckage with the gun in his hand — a sight that alarmed plenty of witnesses, who quickly called the cops.

One of those who saw Gaines said they saw him aim the gun, although there's no word of him having fired at that time.

Within minutes, the teen had reached 10th Street, between Gunnison and Hill, near Washington Park, a well-known community gathering place.

There, Gaines found an SUV occupied by woman with two children. The woman was waiting for a third child who had been taking part in soccer practice at the park. The teen allegedly ordered the trio out of the vehicle, and they quickly followed his orders.

He didn't get far. At 5:57 p.m., just twelve minutes after the incident started, law enforcers from the GJPD and two other agencies, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado State Patrol, arrived in the area en masse. 

That's when a GJPD officer fired at and struck Gaines. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Thus far, Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper isn't identifying the officer who shot Gaines. However, he's said to be a seventeen-year GJPD veteran who'd come to the department from another police agency.

The case remains under investigation, and anyone with additional info about Gaines or the incident as a whole is encouraged to phone the GJPD at 970-244-3526 or Crime Stopers at 970-241-STOP (7867).

In the meantime, the department has released the following statement: "We wish to express our condolences to the families of the two individuals who lost their lives yesterday. What are incidents and new stories to us are deeply personal tragedies to these families, and we want to acknowledge the grief that they must be suffering."

We second this sentiment. Look below to see a report from Grand Junction's KKCO-TV and a GJPD video of Chief Camper's news conference about the incident.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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