Colo. Police Officer Killed in Traffic Stop Shooting

Nov. 30, 2023
Cortez Police Sgt. Michael Moran, who had been with the department for 11 years, died of his injuries from a shooting that erupted during a traffic stop.

Editor's note: The slain Cortez police officer has been identified as Sgt. Michael Moran, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who had been with the department for 11 years. 

An officer with the Cortez Police Department died Wednesday after a shooting.

Police said in a news release that the officer was shot after a traffic stop on South Broadway in Cortez, a town of nearly 9,000. The two suspects fled in the vehicle and were stopped shortly after at a second location in the 7500 block of Colorado 160-491.

More shots were fired in an exchange that left one suspect dead, while the other was taken into custody, police said.

One officer was injured and taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital, where he later died. The officer's name has not been released.

Gov. Jared Polis released the following statement:

"I am saddened to hear of the tragic passing of the Cortez Police Officer in the line of duty. My thoughts and prayers are with their family, as well as the Cortez Police Department and the community during this time. This officer dedicated their career to serving and protecting their community."

The governor will lower flags across the state of Colorado for the fallen officer on the day of the memorial service.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Cortez Police Department or Montezuma County Sheriff Dispatch at 970-565-8441.

It was in Cortez that in 1998 police officer Dale Dewain Claxton was shot and killed after stopping a tanker truck that had been stolen. What was described as one of the biggest manhunts ever seen in the Four Corners area led authorities on a manhunt into Utah.

According to archive reports, one of the suspects was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in early June 1998 after wounding a sheriff's deputy. A second suspect's skeletal remains were found in November 1999. The third suspect's remains were found in Utah in June 2007.


(c)2023 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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