Standoff suspect faces nine charges

    Mark Trail

    By Randi Pierce

    Staff Writer

    Mark Trail, the suspect involved in the early-September standoff with local police that lasted 26 hours, was formally charged with nine counts in County Court last Wednesday.

    Charges filed in front of County Court Judge Jim Denvir include two counts of first-degree assault on a peace officer, two counts of felony menacing, four counts of violation of bond conditions (one count for each above charge), and driving with a revoked license.

    A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 16 at 8:15 a.m. in front of District Court Judge Greg Lyman.

    Trail is being represented by Danielle Touart of the Public Defender’s Office.

    As of Tuesday afternoon, Trail remained in custody at the Archuleta County Detention Center, being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond that would prohibit him from possessing firearms.

    In addition, at a Sept. 6 first advisement hearing, Denvir instituted a mandatory restraining order to prevent the harassment and intimidation of witnesses and victims, which in this incident were all law enforcement officers.

    At approximately 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, Pagosa Springs Police Officer Tony Kop initiated a traffic stop on Hot Springs Boulevard between Apache Street and the Post Office following the receipt of a tip that the driver was driving with a revoked license, said Det. Scott Maxwell with the Pagosa Springs Police Department. The tip came from Investigator George Daniels with the local District Attorney’s office.

    Maxwell indicated that Trail’s license had been revoked with Trail’s status as a habitual traffic offender.

    When Kop approached the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Trail, brandished a weapon and began yelling at Kop, who then retreated to his vehicle and called for backup, Maxwell said.

    A perimeter was immediately set up, blocking off a portion of Hot Springs Boulevard and other area streets.

    At about 9 a.m., Officer T.J. Fitzwater initiated negotiations with the man, who Maxwell described as apparently emotionally distraught, suicidal and armed with a handgun.

    Negotiation attempts continued throughout the day and night. As the incident progressed, barricades along Hot Springs Boulevard were moved to allow for increased business along the road, with the post office allowed to reopen at about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

    Late Wednesday morning, officers, after more than a day of fruitless negotiations and with the belief that Trail was intent on harming himself, decided to breach the vehicle and apprehend Trail, Maxwell said.

    At approximately 11:10 a.m., bean bag rounds were fired at the vehicle’s windows, a Taser was employed to subdue the suspect, and Trail was removed from the vehicle

    The suspect and two officers received minor injuries from broken glass during the operation.

    Maxwell confirmed that Trail did not leave his car during the incident and that no shots were fired until the use of beanbag rounds to break the van’s windows.

    At the time of the traffic stop on Tuesday, Trail was on his way to court for a hearing stemming from a May charge of animal cruelty for the alleged shooting of a neighbor’s horse.