Meeker shooting probe continues
Before a Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Everett Link, the 39-year-old Meeker resident had been arrested for alcohol-related crimes at least three times.
An unidentified deputy shot Link near Meeker late Friday after a short vehicle chase.
Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff confirmed that an autopsy was completed on Link on Monday.
Toxicology reports weren’t available at press time, but the sheriff confirmed that the cause of death was a gunshot wound.
At the sheriff’s request, Colorado Bureau of Investigation officers are helping with the investigation and providing forensic assistance, said Pete Mang, CBI deputy director.
“We’re still gathering information. We’re still in the beginning stages of the work,” Mang said.
Four CBI officers are working the case. It’s common for local law enforcement to call CBI for assistance on police shootings, Mang said. The officers’ work will be turned over to the sheriff and the 9th Judicial District attorney for review. Woodruff said he likely would release the name of the deputy who shot Link today. The deputy has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in the department, Woodruff said.
Before the shooting, Link’s most recent brush with the law came in Moffat County. According to an alcohol evaluator’s report, Link was returning from a trip to Wyoming in 2002 when his truck hit black ice, skidded off the road and rolled into a ravine.
Link had a blood-alcohol level of 0.78, and he was charged with driving while ability impaired.
That was the second time he’d been charged with DWAI. The first charge came in Rio Blanco County in 2000. Then, Link crashed a vehicle, and a deputy found empty beer cans in the car. But the charges were dropped because law enforcement could not prove he had been drinking, according to the alcohol evaluator’s report. He pleaded guilty to careless driving.
In 2002, Link was charged with two counts of providing alcohol to minors.
Link received a deferred sentence on the first count, and the second count was dismissed.
During a 2003 interview with Mindy Burke, an alcohol evaluation specialist with the 9th Judicial District, Link said he had lived near Meeker for five years. He graduated from high school in Arizona. He said he had never married or fathered children.
After the second DWAI arrest, Link received a sentence of 40 hours of community service and was ordered to complete a level II alcohol education course.
Psychologists from Nicoletti-Flater and Associates of Lakewood will arrive at the Sheriff’s Office today to provide psychological support for deputies, Woodruff said. The group advertises itself as an authority in violence prevention, interruption and disaster management.
The incident that resulted in Link’s death began when a woman Woodruff called Link’s ex-girlfriend reported that Link had fired a weapon several times, once in her direction.
Deputies set up a perimeter near the residence where Link had fired the weapon, and then Link led them on a short chase that ended on a private gravel road.
Link allegedly raised a 10-gauge shotgun toward a deputy. Another deputy shot Link.
The last time law enforcement officers had to shoot a suspect in Rio Blanco County was in about 1980, said Paula Davis of the Rangely Police Department.
Eric Wilfong had climbed on the post office roof and was shooting at people on Main Street.
He apparently was upset that police had picked up his dog, Davis said.
An officer shot Wilfong after he had shot at about three people, Davis said.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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