A Cortez man was seriously injured after being shot and then falling out of a moving vehicle Wednesday night near the Ute Mountain Casino, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Law officials did not immediately release the name of the victim, but eventually confirmed he is Stefen Chihocky, 22.
Chihocky was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Grand Junction, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and a friend indicated he had been released from the hospital Sunday, Sept. 15.
He was discovered at U.S. Highway 160/491 and Mike Wash Road by Bureau of Indian Affairs police with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and serious head injuries.
A manhunt for two suspects then ensued, said Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ted Meador.
“One is in custody, and we are seeking a warrant on the other,” Meador said. “It appeared the victim had been thrown from a moving vehicle, and he has serious head injuries.”
Criminal charges of aggravated robbery were filed Friday against Ivan Martin, 25.
At a court hearing Friday, Montezuma County Court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence advised Martin, the sole suspect in custody, that he is facing aggravated robbery charges, a Class 3 felony. Deputy District Attorney Debra Eurich said the charges could be elevated to felony murder if Chihocky dies from his injuries.
“He is in critical condition, and we don’t know if he will make it,” Eurich said.
Eurich said Martin has a criminal history in New Mexico for drug offenses, and has a warrant for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket in Durango. Lawrence set Martin’s bond at $75,000.
Meador said when officers went to the casino to investigate Wednesday night, they found the vehicle and determined the suspects had fled on foot. A K-9 search dog was used to track the suspects, but it lost the trail. The vehicle was impounded.
Thursday morning, Shiprock police reported two men matching the description of the suspects were at a local grocery store. Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived and picked up Martin, but not the other suspect.
“The one volunteered to come and talk with us, and is in our custody, with charges pending,” Meador said. “We are seeking a warrant for the other suspect.”
The other suspect’s identity has not been released, but he is reportedly 40 years old. Meador said they did not know the victim.
“We are praying that he recovers from his injuries,” he said.