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Colorado Firefighter Shot After Trying To Stop Harassment Of Homeless Man

UPDATE: The Pueblo Police Department has announced Gallegos was misidentified as the alleged shooter and the arrest warrant issued for him has been cleared.

Police are now searing for 41-year-old Tonya Albach-Ortega. She is described as a five-foot, one-inch-tall white female who weighs approximately 178 pounds. Albach Ortega has hazel eyes and brown hair.

Pueblo, CO – A gunman opened fire on a group of off-duty firefighters on Sunday after the group saw the suspect harassing a homeless man and intervened.

The search for the shooter remains ongoing.

The incident occurred outside the Pueblo Fire Department Union Building in the 100-block of North Main Street at approximately 12:25 a.m. on Sunday, the Pueblo Police Department (PPD) said in a press release on Tuesday.

The firefighters, who were all off-duty and wearing plain clothes, were outside waiting for a pizza delivery when they spotted a group of men harassing a man with mental disabilities, Pueblo Fire Union (PFU) President Joey Guiterrez told KRDO.

The man they were taunting was homeless, according to Pueblo police.

The firefighters said they told the group of suspects to stop harassing the man and to leave him alone, and the men complied and seemed to leave the area, KMGH reported.

But shortly thereafter, a gunman opened fire on the group of firefighters from inside a 90s-model Buick parked next to a nearby building, the PPD said.

One of the firefighters was hit in the leg.

He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was listed in stable condition, KRDO reported.

The PPD confirmed the firefighter’s wounds are not life-threatening.

“Thank you all for your concern,” the PFU said in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon. “Our firefighter is recovering and doing well. Keep him and his family in your prayers.”

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Pueblo police identified the suspected shooter as 41-year-old Esteban Gallegos.

Gallegos is now wanted for eight counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault, according to police.

“Make him famous and lets get this coward!!!” the PFU said in a Facebook post Tuesday night, along with photos of Gallegos and his getaway vehicle.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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