Man gets 30 years for assaulting three officers in 2019
Published on February 14, 2022
GREELEY, Colo. (Weld County D.A.) – A Greeley man will spend the next three decades behind bars after a jury found him guilty last year of assaulting three law enforcement officers in 2019.
On Wednesday, Weld District Court Judge Timothy Kerns sentenced 65-year-old Stephen Garcia to 30 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
In June of last year, a jury found him guilty of three counts of first degree assault, criminal attempt to commit possession of an explosive or incendiary device, and reckless endangerment.
On June 8, 2019, Weld County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Colorado State Patrol troopers, and Greeley Police officers responded to a call of a suspicious person at an active oil drilling site at 10611 Highway 257 in unincorporated Weld County.
The site is located near the entrance to Missile Silo Park, which is a public park.
A worker at the site called 911 after seeing 64-year-old Stephen Garcia with a flare in his hand near tanks that contained highly flammable and explosive gasses.
When the first deputy arrived on scene, she also saw Garcia attempting to ignite the gasses in the tank.
Garcia told the deputy that she needed to leave him alone and said he was going to blow the tank up.
In the meantime, firefighters told responding officers that because the material was highly explosive, there could have been a blast radius of up to a quarter of a mile, and would have put residents, other structures, responding officers, and crew members at the oil site in extreme danger.
The defendant continued to ignore verbal commands, so officers discharged bean bag rounds from a shotgun, which was unsuccessful.
The defendant continued to move toward the tank in an attempt to ignite it, when an officer on scene discharged two rounds from his firearm.
One round struck Garcia’s jaw, and the second round struck his shoulder. He was taken into custody and was later treated at Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.
“The defendant was high on methamphetamine during this incident,” Deputy District Attorney Chris Jewkes said. “While I sympathize with people who struggle with mental health issues, our job is to protect the community from people who put others at serious risk. The officers knew the risk they were going into when they approached the defendant as he attempted to light the methanol tank. These men and women are more than a badge. They are people, they have families, and they put themselves in danger each day to protect our community. It truly is a miracle that everyone walked away from what could have been a deadly incident.”
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Jewkes prosecuted this case.