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New Castle Police chief fired after arrest

Tony Pagni, 58, was booked on felony charges over the weekend related to a disturbance involving a longtime neighbor.

NEW CASTLE, Colorado — New Castle Police Chief Tony Pagni has been fired after being arrested over the weekend on a felony charge. 

Pagni is accused of placing the muzzle of a loaded rifle against the chest of his longtime neighbor over the weekend while he was heavily intoxicated.

Pagni, 58, was booked on the following charges over the weekend: 

  • Menacing (aggravated-weapon), a felony
  • Prohibited use of weapons, a misdemeanor
  • Harassment (strikes, shoves, kicks), a misdemeanor

Just before 9 p.m. on July 29, deputies with the Garfield County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) responded to a disturbance on Navajo Street in New Castle. They were told that Pagni was intoxicated and walking around with a firearm, according to an arrest affidavit from GCSO.

Credit: Garfield County Sheriff's Office
Tony Pagni

Pagni's neighbor told responding deputies that he was on his porch when Pagni approached him while carrying a long gun. The neighbor said they lived next to each other for 19 years and described Pagni as a "good neighbor."

RELATED: New Castle police chief arrested on felony charge

When Pagni approached the neighbor's home he was calling for his dog which prompted the neighbor to ask if the dog was OK.

That neighbor said Pagni then came up on his porch and he could smell whiskey on his breath. He also noted that Pagni was "stumbling like he was drunk," the affidavit says.

Pagni then asked the neighbor where his wife was and the neighbor said she was out walking the dog. Pagni then accused him of lying and told him he needed to open the door to his home.

The affidavit says that Pagni threatened to strike the neighbor with the muzzle of his rifle if he did not comply. The neighbor refused to open the door, and Pagni then accused his neighbor of killing his wife and insisted he needed to be let inside to "confirm or disprove" his suspicions, the affidavit says.

RELATED: Suspect in deadly hit-and-run crash in Denver arrested

At that point, the affidavit says, Pagni pushed the muzzle of his rifle against his neighbor's chest and pressed into it, according to the document. The neighbor pushed the weapon away and called his wife. When Pagni saw him on the phone he retreated into his home and refused to come out, the affidavit says.

Pagni eventually surrendered peacefully. A deputy who interviewed Pagni at the jail noted that Pagni stumbled the entire short walk into the jail and said he had a "heavy odor" of an unknown alcoholic beverage, the affidavit says.

That same deputy said that at times Pagni would fall asleep and then snap awake. That prompted him to suspect that there was another unknown substance in his system other than alcohol, according to the affidavit.

Investigators later found the rifle used in the incident inside Pagni's home with a round in the chamber and a fully loaded magazine, the affidavit says.

Town Administrator David Reynolds has named Sgt. Chuck Burrows as interim chief, according to a release from the town.

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