ALAMOSA – A 49-year-old Canon City man remains hospitalized after being shot during a downtown protest here early Thursday evening. At approximately 5:56 p.m., Alamosa Police were dispatched to Main Street and State Avenue in reference to a shooting.
After an initial investigation, officers quickly located the victim at 2nd Street and Richardson Avenue in a vehicle, with a gunshot wound to the head. Alamosa Police Department identified the victim of the shooting as 49-year-old Canon City resident, Danny Pruitt. Pruitt was initially treated at San Luis Valley Health and later flown to UC Health Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs for further treatment. As of Friday afternoon, Pruitt was in critical but stable condition, according to APD Captain Joey Spangler. The Courier will keep the public updated on his wellbeing.
Law enforcement identified a suspect, 27-year-old Alamosa resident James Marshall, and subsequently placed him into custody at approximately 8:40 p.m. Marshall was charged with attempted 2nd Degree homicide, 1st Degree assault, reckless endangerment, felony menacing, criminal mischief, illegal discharge of a firearm, and prohibited use of weapons. Marshall reportedly is an attorney with a second-story office in downtown Alamosa.
Marshall had been taking part in a local protest, taking place at the intersection of State Ave. and Main St. The protests have been organized in a nationwide response to the murder of George Floyd at the hand of the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd’s death has highlighted the systemic racism inherent to many of our nation’s institutions. Thursday night’s peaceful protest , as well as, two previous protests , were organized by community member, Emily. (At her request, Emily’s last name has been omitted from this record).
“Peaceful demonstration was emphasized at the events I organized,” Emily said. “I would often let the other attendees know that we are demonstrating to act in solidarity with all black folks who have been harmed by an unjust system.
“The grassroots movement, which organized the events that took place in Alamosa, does not condone this violence,” she said. “The man who performed this unimaginable action does not reflect the values of myself or any of the other attendees.”
Since May 30, peaceful demonstrations have been organized in Alamosa almost every night. It is unclear whether the alleged shooter, James Marshall, was present at any previous demonstrations. Emily said she did not recall seeing him before last night. “The goal at our event was to maintain a peaceful presence,” Emily said. “If others were to try to agitate us, we were to ignore them and continue with peaceful demonstration. Violence was to be avoided to ensure that nothing would distract from the purpose of the protest, which was to fight for equal justice.”
Overall, the community responded positively to these demonstrations. “Several folks came up to us to thank us, a community member even brought us water,” Emily said. “We felt that the Alamosa citizens were with us, in the belief that all members of the nation should be treated with dignity and respect … that unnecessary police brutality is never the appropriate use of our tax dollars.”
Emily noticed something “odd” about Marshall’s demeanor. She explained, “His persona was off from the cohesion of the group I had experienced at the other events.” All previous attendees had maintained the peace, “Even when passersby would yell out profanities or use inappropriate hand gestures.” She said Marshall had “a somewhat aggressive demeanor and would often speak over myself and the other young women who were leading the chants.
” Recalling the shooting itself, Emily described the scene. “We were exiting the east crosswalk, on the corner of State and Main street. As we were exiting, a man driving a truck began to inch forward; into several individuals still exiting. “It all happened very quickly, but – as the man was inching forward into the crowd – the alleged shooter suddenly pulled out a handgun, pressed it up against the glass of the back, passenger window and shot into the vehicle. He then proceeded to run.” Several eyewitnesses claimed the driver, Pruitt, was inching into the crowd of protestors; before he was shot. However, the APD have not confirmed this detail. Regardless, both the protestors and the APD acknowledge the shooter’s actions were unnecessary and harmful to the overall cause.
“As we reflect on the violence that has swept our nation and now our own community it is natural and necessary for us all to take a moment to mourn,” Emily concluded. “We have had peaceful protests all week and I am heartbroken that this man disrupted what was a peaceful event. His actions were wrong.”
The City of Alamosa has since reminded protestors of ordinances in order to safeguard rights while ensuring the safety of all. Read more on Page 6.