CORTEZ, CO – A local police officer lost his life in a violent altercation following a traffic stop on Wednesday morning. Sergeant Michael Moran was fatally shot while conducting the traffic stop on South Broadway around 11:25 a.m., according to the Cortez Police Department.
After the shooting occurred, the suspects reportedly drove away, prompting a swift police response that located them in the 7500 block of U.S. Highway 160 and U.S. Highway 491. A second exchange of gunfire ensued, resulting in the death of one of the suspects, while the other suspect was arrested.
Sergeant Moran had a long history of service, having been a Marine for nine years, where he served two tours in Iraq before joining the police force in 2012. His work history also included serving as a K-9 handler from 2016, a role he held with his canine partner Otto until Otto’s retirement in 2020. Otto sadly passed away in October.
Survived by his two daughters, friends, and family, Sergeant Moran was remembered by his colleagues for his dedication and sense of humor. The local community lowered flags to half-staff in his honor.
The tragedy has reverberated through the quiet town of southwest Colorado, with local residents speaking up about the sense of community they anticipate in the weeks to follow as people come forward to support each other and the bereaved family.
Governor Jared Polis has declared that flags across Colorado will be lowered to half-staff on the day of the memorial service bar to honor Sergeant Moran. The Cortez Police Department and Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office have called for anyone with information on the incident to come forward.