Police have obtained arrest warrants for two men involved in a fight three weeks ago that sent one of them to the intensive-care unit for nine days.
The arrest warrants were issued Thursday for Troy Brown, 30, and Chris Harper, 31, in connection with an April 1 stabbing near College Plaza. The two men have known each other for a number of years and were arguing for months leading up to the altercation, each making threats to fight, injure or kill the other, according to an arrest affidavit filed in 6th Judicial District Court.
Brown, whom police suspect of third-degree assault and stalking, turned himself in Thursday, said Durango Police Department Cmdr. Rita Warfield. He was released on $5,000 bail.
Harper, who told officers he will turn himself in, is suspected of first-degree assault and stalking, according to a news release from the city.
The two men ran into each other by coincidence April 1 near College Plaza. Harper was sitting in a parked truck in the 700 block of East Fifth Street when Brown approached him, according to the affidavit. Video footage from a nearby business showed Harper exit his vehicle when Brown approached.
“Some type of commotion seems to immediately take place at the driver’s door of the truck and then appears to move toward the front of the truck and into the street,” according to the affidavit. Twenty-three seconds later, Brown is seen staggering though the parking lot, clutching his side.
Brown was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Police recovered a 6-inch blade from the scene.
A detective interviewed Harper immediately after the incident; Brown’s nine-day hospitalization kept police from contacting him, which stalled the investigation, Warfield said.
Harper told police the two had been arguing about a misunderstanding related to a job Harper had contracted Brown to do. Harper said Brown wanted to settle the disagreement with a fistfight, but Harper wanted to avoid a fight because he has a brain lesion that could prove fatal if injured.
“Harper explained that he is intimidated by his medical condition and would not be willing to risk his life and that he would do anything to prevent that,” according to the affidavit. Harper said he grabbed the knife after Brown swung at him.
Police interviewed Brown almost two weeks after the incident. He told officers he approached Harper’s truck April 1 with the intent “to physically confront (Harper) in order to settle their situation,” according to the affidavit. He told police he expected to fight Harper but did not expect him to use a weapon. Brown said Harper exited his truck with the knife.
Cellphone records reviewed by police indicate Brown and Harper had been arguing about work though text messages since Jan. 11, according to Brown’s arrest affidavit. At some point in the conversation, Brown challenged Harper to fight.
“Harper did not back down from the challenge and invited Brown to meet him in Ignacio,” police wrote in an affidavit.
The two men didn’t message each other again until Jan. 25, when Brown again challenged Harper to a fight. The two threatened each other throughout the conversation, and Harper “repeatedly invites Brown to come confront him at his residence,” police wrote. Brown refuses for fear of being shot.
“U can still get shot anywhere,” Harper texted Brown, according to police. “But if u think ur safe from a bullet in public think again.”
The conversation sparked again in early March, after the two had allegedly confronted each other in the Durango Walmart parking lot. Harper texted Brown asking him why he backed down from a fight, and the two go on to threaten each other.
“Based on the texting/messaging conversations recorded on Harper’s phone, it didn’t appear Harper wanted to avoid a physical confrontation,” police wrote. “He made multiple threats of his own and called out Brown several times, even though Brown appeared to be the prominent verbal aggressor.”