Vandalism spree damages post office, nearby property

Memorial Day 2009 will likely remain memorable for one Pagosa Springs man who, among other acts, allegedly fired a volley of bullets from a high powered rifle into the town post office and now faces a variety of charges.

According to Town of Pagosa Springs Police Department Det. Scott Maxwell, calls came in from The Springs Resort about 5 a.m. on Memorial Day, the caller complaining of a white pick-up driving on the hotel grounds and sidewalks. The caller also reported hearing gunshots.

Soon thereafter Deputy Brandon Bishop from the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department and Officer Kirk Hioki from the town police department were dispatched to the scene.

Upon arriving on the scene, Bishop located the vehicle tracks and traced them to a house on Hot Springs Boulevard. In the meantime, Hioki obtained more information on the make and model of the truck and went to the house on Hot Springs Boulevard where he made contact with Nicholas Miller, 22.

According to Maxwell, Miller allegedly attempted to evade Hioki, although Hioki was able to subdue and arrest the suspect.

Through Miller’s and witness statements, Maxwell said he was able to determine probable cause for charges relating to the damage to The Springs Resort, although the damage to the post office had not yet been discovered.

Maxwell said a report came in later in the morning of bullet damage to post office windows facing Miller’s house.

Maxwell later went to the house to photograph the truck and discovered shell casings lying in the driveway and a rifle case in the truck.

A postal inspector from Colorado Springs traveled to Pagosa Springs and during an investigation located bullets and bullet fragments in the post office.

Maxwell said Miller likely faces only local charges, including felony criminal mischief, obstructing a police officer, reckless driving and illegal discharge of a firearm.

Miller posted a $5,000 bond.

SUN photo/James Robinson
Spider web-like cracks travel out from bullet holes in two windows at the Pagosa Springs post office. The shots were allegedly fired from a high-powered rifle outside a home on Hot Springs Boulevard Monday, easily penetrating the glass and the sheet rock wall of the post office box lobby area. No one was injured in the shooting and one arrest was made.