| Crime |

John Burrell second soldier busted in Virgil Means killing near motorcycle club

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Update: In recent days, Fort Carson-based Sergeant Christopher Mountjoy was arrested in the death of Virgil Means outside the Sin City Disciples motorcycle club.

Now, a second soldier, John Burrell, has been arrested in the incident. He's being held on the charge of murder in the first degree.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Burrell is part of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, whose members began heading to Afghanistan last month.

No word about whether or not Burrell was scheduled to make such a trip -- but his most recent brush with the law was hardly his first. The Gazette reports that this past October, he was arrested on a slew of serious charges, including robbery, kidnapping, menacing and what the paper describes as a "sex offense."

Look below to see a larger version of Burrell's most recent mug shot. Then continue reading to learn more about Christopher Mountjoy and the specifics of the incident that took Means's life.

Update, 11:49 a.m. March 19: Earlier this month, Virgil Means, 31, was shot and killed outside the clubhouse for the Sin City Disciples, a Colorado Springs motorcycle group. Now, local police are accusing Christopher Mountjoy, thirty, of pulling the trigger -- something he presumably knows how to do quite well. He's a soldier who appears to have suffered permanent injury to his hearing after an IED explosion.

On March 3, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, what began as a party devolved into a brawl from which Means and a companion tried to flee.

They didn't get far. The two were chased and shots were fired, allegedly by Mountjoy, a staff sergeant assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; the Colorado Springs Police Department also identifies him as a member of the Sin City Disciples. Some of the bullets found Means, who died shortly after his arrival at an area hospital.

A spokesperson at Fort Carson provided no details about Mountjoy's combat history, but the Gazette notes that the 1st Brigade Combat Team returned last spring from Kandahar, one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan. The deployment is said to have lasted a year.

More details can be found in "Traumatic Hearing Loss: Not All War Wounds Are Visible," published by HealthyHearing.com in 2009. The article outlines one wartime event experienced by Staff Sergeant Chris Mountjoy, a 27-year-old assigned to Fort Carson. From the piece:

The bad guys are looking for the troops. As the Humvee turns a corner, Staff Sgt. Chris Mountjoy opens the door at the precise moment that insurgents detonate a powerful IED -- improvised explosive device.

Fortunately, the armored door protects Sgt. Mountjoy from the deadly shrapnel. However, the concussive force blows the sergeant 30 feet through the air. It also caused hearing loss by rupturing his ear drums and damaging the inner ear sensory hair cells that allow us to hear. When physical damage to the hearing mechanism has occurred due to excessive noise, it is referred to as acoustic trauma.

The sergeant couldn't hear a sound for three days and, today, through the use of hearing aids, Sgt. Mountjoy is able to continue his service to his country in an administrative capacity at Fort Carson's 10th Combat Hospital.

After his injury, Mountjoy is said to have insisted on keeping his kids in sight at all times, fearful that he might not hear a little one in need of "Daddy's help." But with the help of hearing aids, he was able to develop "the inner strength to adapt and thrive despite his sacrifice," the article maintains. After noting that Mountjoy's tasks included helping other returning soldiers adjust to battlefield-related hearing loss, he's quoted as saying, "I've learned to live with it rather than fight it."

Below, see a larger version of Mountjoy's mug shot, followed by our previous coverage.

Original item, 6:27 a.m. March 5: Virgil Means has been identified as the victim of a Saturday homicide in the Colorado Springs area.

The killing is being linked to a disturbance at the clubhouse of the Sin City Disciples, which police describe as a motorcycle club. And at least one local publication calls the Disciples a gang.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, officers received a call on Saturday afternoon from Penrose Main Hospital, where Means had been transported. The person who'd drove him to the facility told cops there had been a disturbance near the Sin City Disciples' clubhouse, at 628 West Vermijo Street. He said the pair were in a car when several shots rang out, striking the vehicle and Means, who died about ten minutes after arriving at Penrose.

Shortly thereafter, cops armed with a search warrant showed up at the clubhouse, using a tactical enforcement unit to gain entry. No surprise investigators would start there, given reports about the group. Example: "The gangs of Colorado Springs," a February 2011 article from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs publication The Scribe, which contains the following passage.

The Sin City Disciples are a new motorcycle gang that just moved into the area from Indiana. Though they just moved in, they are already about 125 members deep. Their revenue comes from drug sales. They can be identified by their black and gold colors. They are in cahoots with the Crips, even allowing them to hang out at their club house. This is a strange alliance, since most members of the Disciples are middle-aged, while the Crips tend to be younger.

There's no mention of the Disciples on Means' Facebook page, either on the wall or the info section, which features quotes from from Martin Luther King Jr. ("The time is always right to do the right thing") and Marcus Aurelius ("A man's life is what his thoughts make it." Also included is the Biblical proverb, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

Also included are a number of self-portraits, including this one:

Several notes of condolence have been posted, including "Damn bro words can't tell how you will be missed my friend my prayers go out to your family" and an eloquently simple message that reads simply, "Tears."

No arrests have been made at this writing. Looking below to see an interactive graphic of the area near the scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

View Larger Map

Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Hell's Lovers: Nineteen suspects appear in court on drugs, weapons, explosives charges."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.