A 62-year-old Durango man who was under investigation for leaving a vulgar letter on the windshield of a car parked at the Durango Community Recreation Center was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Durango Police announced it was investigating who may have left the profane and at times vividly racist note, which included pointed political and personal attacks.
The note was found Nov. 10 on the windshield of Michael Berry’s car about 2 p.m., after he and his wife spent about an hour in the rec center. Disturbed by the contents of the note, Berry contacted police.
“Whoever this suspect was made it personal,” Durango Police Cmdr. Ray Shupe said at the time. “They weren’t just attacking an ideology. They were making personal attacks.”
Durango Police were able to obtain tape from a video surveillance camera that is set up outside the rec center, which captured video of a man later identified as Thomas Petit leaving the note on Berry’s car.
Durango Police Cmdr. Jacob Dunlop said Wednesday that officers contacted Petit on Tuesday afternoon by phone. Dunlop said Petit admitted to leaving the note on Berry’s car.
Petit then agreed to go to the Durango Police station on Wednesday morning to discuss the incident.
Dunlop said the officer who spoke with Petit on Tuesday said he displayed no indication of grief. Instead, Dunlop said Petit was “cordial” and “cooperative.”
However, hours later, Petit was found unresponsive at his home in the Dalton Ranch subdivision.
According to La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith, authorities received a call from Petit’s wife around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday that Petit was unresponsive.
Petit was pronounced dead about 7 p.m., Smith said. An autopsy will be performed Monday.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case, according to a prepared statement.