Skip to comments.Shooter mistakes woman's mohawk for fowl, runs afoul of the law
Posted on 03/30/2012 9:42:29 AM PDT by GSWarrior
Derrill Rockwell told police he grabbed his rifle, the .22-caliber he kept handy to kill rodents around the house, about 5 a.m. Oct. 5 and walked outside to confront it.
Possibly, he told police, the same fowl he suspected of harassing his cats recently around his home near Orchard Mesa Cemetery.
It was red, sitting at the top of a hill about 90 feet away from Rockwell.
His intent was to spook it away, Deputy District Attorney Jason Conley told District Judge Richard Gurley on Friday.
Rockwell shot once but said he didnt see the bird fly away. Soon after, he heard a womans voice, moaning in pain. Rockwell discovered a 23-year-old woman, with a large red mohawk, with a gunshot wound to the head.
In 15 years in law enforcement, this was one of the more interesting cases Ive worked, Grand Junction Police Department detective Sean Crocker told the judge Friday.
Rockwell, 49, was sentenced to serve five years probation after pleading guilty to felony possession of a weapon by a prior offender.
The District Attorneys Office dismissed remaining charges, including tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and false reporting. He was ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution.
Rockwell initially misled the investigation, authorities said. Conley told the judge that Rockwell offered a wet towel for the womans head injury and drove her to the emergency room at St. Marys Hospital after the shooting, leaving his name and phone number with doctors.
She got out of the truck on her own accord, Conley told the judge.
Rockwell told a nurse he heard noises outside his home, went outside and found a woman bleeding from the head. Conley said Rockwell later explained he went home, gathered the rifle and drove to the Redlands Roller Dam, where he tossed the weapon into the Colorado River.
Six days after the shooting, Rockwell told another story to police detectives, acknowledging he fired the weapon after confusing the womans red mohawk hairstyle for a distant bird.
Stephan Schweissing, Rockwells attorney, said Rockwells interview with police Oct. 11 went against his advice to his client. Had Rockwell not voluntarily spoken with detectives, he likely wouldnt have been charged by the District Attorneys Office in the matter, Schweissing said.
He just couldnt live with himself, knowing what he knew, the attorney said.
Police detectives had few clues in the investigation, which early on had centered around the victims possible transient lifestyle at the time and her associates, Crocker told the judge.
(Rockwell) gave a full, detailed confession, the detective told the judge.
Crocker said police conducted a comprehensive investigation into Rockwells account, searching his property while returning there to re-enact the shooting scenario Rockwell had described. The woman was believed to be in a crouched position at the top of the hill with her red mohawk exposed roughly 90 feet away when she was shot, according to testimony Friday.
Conley told the judge the woman may have been passed out from intoxication prior to being shot, and officers found a small bag of suspected methamphetamine in the area where she was found.
The District Attorneys Office ultimately found nothing to dispute Rockwells account, Conley told the judge.
Rockwell had been prohibited from owning a firearm after a 1995 conviction for attempted burglary.
This was a tragic accident, and Im truly sorry, he told the judge.
Rockwells victim didnt attend Fridays hearing. Conley said she left Colorado after the shooting and couldnt be contacted before Friday.
Attempts by The Daily Sentinel to contact her Friday were unsuccessful.
Can’t make it up, that is for sure!
Reminds me of a joke about a guy who walked up to a Punk Rocker with a Green Mohawk at a mall and opined how he thought he might be his father. It involved a Parrot at a party in the 80’s.
Had Rockwell not voluntarily spoken with detectives, he likely wouldnt have been charged by the District Attorneys Office in the matterI'm glad the truth came out... no reason for a coverup... but this is worth thinking about:
Old man sitting on a bus,, staring at a kid witha red mohawk.
Kid says “what you staring at old man? Didn’t you ever do anything crazy when you were young?”
Old guy says “well, i was in the Navy back during Vietnam. Once in the Philippines i actually had sex with a parrot. I thought maybe you were my son.”
dang it,,, you were too fast.
You’re like Wyatt Earp with a keyboard.
This was October 5th, he should have realized that cardinals have already flown south... : )
To all of you bird watchers, yes I know that cardinals don’t migrate. Have seen plenty of them during the winter. Just trying to make a joke.
PETA will probably come down on him now for shooting at birds.
And the EPA because of lead bullets.
Can’t help but wonder if this woman will consider doing something a little more conservative with her hair from now on.
She flew the coop.
The Mohawk objects.
90 feet? I'm thinking he knew his target was not a bird. My property is 80 feet wide. I can certainly tell what is a bird and what isnt't from one side to the other. At 90 yards, I might be able to understand the mistake a little better.
Grand Junction sounds like its residents are a little too high brow for the likes of me.
Next time, listen to the drums more carefully.....
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