Park County undersheriff suspended, sergeant quits

9NEWS at 5 p.m. 3/3/16.

PARK COUNTY - Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener told 9NEWS he suspended his long-time undersheriff Monte Gore and a sergeant on his department quit as a result of disciplinary actions.

Wegener said the personnel movement had nothing to do with the deadly eviction, where Corporal Nate Carrigan was shot and killed last week.

"It was to do with occurrences surrounding the shooting, not the incident itself," Wegener said.

He said neither man had anything to do with the planning or execution of the eviction.

On Feb. 25, eight Park County deputies -- including the sheriff -- went to evict a resident. Investigators called it a high-risk eviction. A man with a long history of run-ins with law enforcement came out on the deck and went back inside his house. Deputies followed him inside. Three deputies were shot, including Carrigan, who was killed. The other two deputies are recovering. The suspect was killed.

9NEWS has learned the Park County Sheriff's Office did not ask for SWAT assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for the eviction operation. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the sheriff did ask for help after the shooting occurred. 

Wegener said he suspended Gore with pay pending the outcome of the investigation into "procedural issues," until the internal fact-finding investigation is complete.

"He had a press release that had some issues," Wegener said. "He did some other things incorrectly, more along the lines of grammatical things I thought should've been taken care of before they were put out."

According to Wegener, Gore wrote things that didn't happen, like the fact he drove to the hospital with the sheriff.

"I don't like inaccuracies like that," Wegener said. "I expected more from the undersheriff."

When asked how long Gore would be on leave, Wegener said he hoped the investigation would be done next week, so he could sit down with Gore sometime after Carrigan's funeral on March 14.

"It wasn't the first time," Wegener said. "This was a snowball effect that culminated with what happened."

When reached, Gore said because he was on leave, he could not make a statement.

Wegener said Sgt. Wells Tonjes quit after being offered a demotion to deputy.

"He had supervisory issues with his subordinates that were not dealt [with] correctly," the sheriff said. "We had looked into that, offered options to either take a deputy [position] or resign. He chose to resign. Tonjes did things that were upsetting after the shooting relating to personnel. I chose to deal with it. He yelled at some deputies. He had issues with employees in the past. The timing looks horrible. I know that. I was hoping that my department grieved. I wanted to stop any further inaccuracies being released in the press releases as well as bring my department - I felt like I needed to do something to address the supervision."

Tonjes worked for the Denver Police Department from 1972 until 2008 during which time he was assigned to districts one, three and five as a recruit, patrolman, detective and technician. He retired from the department, according to a DPD spokesperson.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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