Category Archives: In-Depth Features

Guns become a way of life for many in rural Colorado

Howllowpoint Gun Shop Owner Erin Jerant helps mount a scope on a hunting rifle for Justin Noga, right, as friend Ricky Kelly looks on in Walsenburg. Jerant says she has known the two since they were young enough to sit on the store's countertops. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
Howllowpoint Gun Shop Owner Erin Jerant helps mount a scope on a hunting rifle for Justin Noga, right, as friend Ricky Kelly looks on in Walsenburg. Jerant says she has known the two since they were young enough to sit on the store’s countertops. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

OTERO COUNTY, Colo. — Mac Holder takes a seat on the bench of a weathered wooden shooting table roughly 50 yards in front of a silver beer can impaled upright by a stake.

Here at the firing range of his family’s pheasant and quail ranch on the outskirts of Rocky Ford, dozens of spent shotgun shells litter the parched ground around him. But on this recent afternoon, in his grip is a black Rock River AR-15 outfitted with a 30-round ammunition magazine. Holder pulls back and releases the charging handle, pushing a round into the chamber. He then tucks the butt of the semiautomatic gun into his left shoulder and leans forward, staring down the scope mounted on top. Nine ear-splitting shots pierce the gentle breeze.

“It’s a fun gun. It has low recoil. If you just like to shoot for practice, it’s a great gun,” says Holder, 28, after firing the weapon. “I’ve had it for nine years, keep it locked up and never had any problems with it.”

Far from the gold dome of the state Capitol, and the state’s more populated Front Range, generations of Colorado families like Holder’s have grown up with firearms.

Read more at The Denver Post

Gary Flakes, convicted in 1997 deaths of two teens, running for Colorado Springs council

Gary Flakes, who was convicted of being an accessory to murder in the 1997 shotgun slayings of two teenage boys in the Cheyenne Meadows neighborhood, announced he is running for Colorado Springs City Council. (Christian Murdock, The Gazette)
Gary Flakes, who was convicted of being an accessory to murder in the 1997 shotgun slayings of two teenage boys in the Cheyenne Meadows neighborhood, announced he is running for Colorado Springs City Council. (Christian Murdock, The Gazette)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Two pairs of teenage boys who didn’t know each other crossed paths the night of Valentine’s Day 1997.

It was a little after 11:30 that night when Andy Westbay, 13, and Scott Hawrysiak, 15, started their walk of less than two blocks along Canoe Creek Drive to Hawrysiak’s home after playing video games at a friend’s house.

Meanwhile, a white Mazda hatchback carrying Gary Flakes, 16, Jeron Grant, 17, and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun drove down the quiet residential street on Colorado Springs’ southwest side.