The suspect who shot at multiple passing vehicles on a highway near Gateway on Sunday afternoon is behind bars in the Mesa County Jail, and likely won’t be going anywhere any time soon. 54-year-old Rick Whited is now facing five charges of attempted murder and six counts of felony menacing.
Investigators say that Whited sat in his parked pickup on the side of highway 141 and took shots at any vehicle that came down the highway. Security guards from the nearby Gateway Canyon Resort & Spa were the closest to the scene when the first emergency calls came in. They exchanged fire with Whited and kept him pinned down until reinforcements arrived from several law enforcement agencies. He was arrested by Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies.
One vehicle was damaged during the incident, but no injuries were reported.
Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney David Waite didn’t speculate about Whited’s motive at his court appearance yesterday, but told Judge Michael Grattan that Whited had no apparent purpose in shooting other than to kill the occupants of the cars. Waite said that Whited is an extreme risk to the community and that he would be very likely to kill someone if he was released. The judge agreed, issued seven restraining orders for those that Whited shot at, and ordered him held on a $1M bond.
Whited is due back in court on August 8th.