By Teresa L. Benns
LA GARITA— An allegedly accidental shooting June 24 sent a La Garita man to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver with a shoulder wound after a friend shot him while the two men were hunting prairie dogs along County Road 41G in La Garita.
According to a report from Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick, Todd Rohr of La Garita was first admitted to Rio Grande Hospital in Del Norte and was later airflighted by Eagle Air to St. Anthony’s. Warwick said that when he interviewed Rohr in Del Norte, the man was “certain” the shooting was an accident and did not wish the shooter to be charged requesting he receive education instead. Warwick said Rohr did not appear to be angry about the incident.
Rohr told Sheriff Warwick he was using binoculars to spot prairie dogs in one part of a field and a friend, Gabe Martinez, was hunting prairie dogs in another part of the field when he was shot. According to Martinez’s estimates, Martinez was approximately 70 yards from the prairie dog mound and Rohr was about 140 yards from the mound. Warwick calculated the two men were about 250-300 yards apart.
While at Rio Grande Hospital, Warwick said, he also spoke to a Tracy Victor Martinez (Vic), father of Gabe Martinez. Martinez provided a rough map of the area showing Rohr was about 300 yards from his home and Martinez was about 200 yards from his home when the shooting occurred.
Gabe Martinez told Warwick he and Rohr were shooting at the same prairie dog mound when he heard a shot. He thinks he shot twice with his 223 AR 15 style Sig Sauer before he heard Rohr yell and realized he and Rohr were shooting “crossways towards one another.” Rohr told Warwick he believes he heard three rounds shot off, with the third round hitting him in the shoulder. He thought he saw Martinez coming to him from a different filed.
On reaching Rohr, Martinez said he found him prone behind a hill, bleeding from his right shoulder. Rohr said he had to calm Martinez, instructing him to take off his shirt and apply it to the wound as a compression bandage. Martinez then took him to the hospital in his truck.
Warwick later contacted Rohr’s girlfriend, Kimberly Specht, who said Rohr was scheduled to be released from the hospital June 26. Doctors told him the shoulder is in bad shape and bullet fragments could not be removed surgically because they were too small, she said. Doctors also told Rohr, however, the shoulder would heal given time.
Warwick also received a call from the previous owner of Rohr’s property, Zack Seal, who told the sheriff he had issues with the Martinez’s shooting practices, had approached them about it, and they would not cooperate. Because of the potential dangers, he sold his home.
Specht told Warwick she had heard this was not the first time Gabe had issues with firearms and she did not feel education versus charges was a wise choice. She and Rohr planned to discuss the matter further when he returned home, she added.
Warwick said he is waiting for records from Rio Grande Hospital and St. Anthony’s Hospital to finalize his report. Charges in the case have not been ruled out.