Shotgun wielder charged with attempted murder
Colorado man also wanted for charges in home state
By Richard Zowie
Times Guardian Staff Writer
A hospitalized Colorado man who presumably fled his home state to evade an arrest warrant faces attempted capital murder charges from a July 6 altercation with a Comal County deputy, in which he allegedly brandished a shotgun after being asked to identify himself.
If convicted of attempted capital murder, 41-year-old John Edward Morris of Glenwood Springs, Colo., faces from five to 99 years to life in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, said Deputy Mark Reynolds of the Comal County Sheriff's Office.
Morris is currently being held at San Antonio's University Hospital under police guard and is being treated for three gunshot wounds to his upper torso. According to Deputy Reynolds, as of July 12 Morris was in stable condition.
In the altercation with the suspect, Comal County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brett Smith fired approximately six shots at Morris, who had been found at the Tom Creek Boat Storage facility in Startzville on Tom Creek Road off the corner of FM 2673 and Old Cranes Mill Road. Someone had called 911 to report a "suspicious person", later found to be Morris.
Tom Creek Boat Storage is listed to a San Antonio phone number along with Guardian Realty. The boat facility's owner, Winston Wright, declined to comment on the shooting.
Both local and Colorado authorities are still unclear why Morris, who's from a small Colorado town about 150 miles west of Denver along Interstate 70 and about 1,000 miles from the Canyon Lake area, would be in this area of Texas. Speculation has risen that he has relatives in the nearby area, but nothing has been confirmed.
What is known is that Morris has had recent skirmishes with the law. On June 25, a warrant for his arrest was issued in Clear Creek County, Colorado (about 40 miles west of Denver) on charges of assault, second-degree kidnapping and robbery. According to the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office Detective Mark Douglas, Morris allegedly hit a 36-year-old female bicyclist with his vehicle. He then got out, reportedly grabbed her by the throat and tried to pull her into his vehicle. She managed to
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break free and run away from him into the woods. He then caught up with her, allegedly assaulted her again and tried to tie her up with an inner tube from her bicycle. She screamed for help, and Morris reportedly left the scene when another bicyclist came to her aid.
"We don't have a clue why [Morris] attacked her," said Douglas. "He doesn't know her, she doesn't know him. He's not from our county."
Douglas noted that though Morris has had recent problems with the law, he does not have an extensive criminal record. He was, though, facing a felony menacing charge stemming from a custody battle with his ex-wife over his nine-year-old son.
At the time of Morris' alleged assault on the bicyclist, he had been driving a 1991 blue Dodge van that, though registered to Morris, was the subject of a reported property dispute between him and another man.
Three days after the alleged incident with the bicyclist, after news of Morris driving the van was publicized, authorities found the van abandoned, Douglas said.
As for the older-model green Ford truck Morris was driving, Deputy Reynolds doesn't think it was stolen.
"I think the truck is [Morris's]," the deputy said. "I was told by Colorado that the be on the lookout for the van and truck."
According to a published report by the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Morris was also arrested in the city earlier in June following an incident where he allegedly threatened his sister, brother-in-law and their children with a knife. The children had been staying with Morris and his mother under an undetermined living arrangement. Morris' sister and her husband reportedly arrived at his residence to take the children back to Texas, the paper said.