Holiday calm for law enforcement


— Nothing like what happened in Denver - thankfully.

That's how the area's two top law enforcement officials - Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta and Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz - described their respective agency's activity on New Year's Eve and the early morning hours of New Year's Day.

"It's almost like any other weekend night," Vanatta said. "We had calls for service, but nothing unusual. Nothing like Denver, thank God."

"We actually had a fairly benign New Year's Eve and New Year's Day," Jantz said. "No shootings like Denver had. That was tragic."

Not only were local police and sheriff's deputies able to avoid answering calls similar to the turn of events that transpired early New Year's Day in Denver - where a 25-year-old now stands accused of first-degree murder after a stray bullet he allegedly fired killed two bystanders in a nearby house - they also went a night without making any arrests for a standard offense on the holiday.

Driving under the influence.

"I just don't see where we had anything that night," the police chief said.

"There were several traffic stops," Jantz said, "but most were for speeding or someone without a driver's license. No DUIs."

An 11-year-old girl and her aunt, a 48-year-old woman, were victims of the shooting in Denver. The suspect, who is being held without bond, told police he used a .44-caliber revolver to shoot at a streetlight about 12:25 a.m. Tuesday.

Both the Police Department and Sheriff's Office had a normal amount of officers and deputies on duty for the holiday. There were no set alcohol checkpoints, Vanatta and Jantz said.

Jantz said he believes several factors - holiday revelers knowing the risks associated with drinking and driving and alternatives available to them, more in-home holiday parties and the cold weather - led to the safe New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

"We all had a very safe New Year's Eve and New Year's Day," the sheriff said. "Everyone started the new year safe and alive, which is the way we like it."

In others news

Alleged convenience store robber to be arraigned: A 20-year-old Craig man who allegedly robbed a convenience store in September using a fake weapon is scheduled to appear in court today with his public defender.

Keone Ikaika Beaulieu-Kalilikane is charged with a sole count - robbery aggravated possession of a simulated weapon, a Class 3 felony. He will appear at 2 p.m. in Moffat County Court for an arraignment hearing, or a formal reading of the charges.

Police contend Beaulieu-Kalilikane entered the Kum & Go location - 700 E. Victory Way - dressed in black clothing and wearing a ski mask covering his face.

After a few minutes, he approached the clerk displaying a handgun and demanded money from the cash register, according to police.

Some of the clothing and the handgun, which turned out to be a toy, were found in a building located on the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

In another strange twist, police said the suspect had been hired by the same Kum & Go store that he allegedly robbed.


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