A 34-year-old Pagosa Springs man who died in an officer-involved shooting early Wednesday in Durango had an extensive criminal history and was recently released from prison early because of COVID-19 concerns.
According to the Durango Police Department, officers were dispatched to O’Reilly Auto Parts at 2475 Main Ave. around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday after being alerted by a business alarm of a break-in.
As authorities surrounded the building, the suspect, identified as Jason Noble Snow, was told to put down a gun he was carrying, but instead he started firing at an officer, said Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer.
The officer, who has not yet been identified, fired back, killing Snow. He was pronounced dead at the scene before medical personnel arrived.
According to Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman, Snow had an extensive criminal history in the community.
At the age of 24, Snow was being held at the Archuleta County Detention Center for felony convictions of assault, tampering with evidence and leaving a crime scene that caused serious bodily injury, according to The Durango Herald archives.
In July 2010, Snow and another inmate assaulted detention officers, stole a vehicle and escaped into New Mexico. Snow was caught a few days later near Lumberton in Rio Arriba County.
Undersheriff Woodman said Snow was serving a sentence at the Department of Corrections in Colorado when he appealed for release amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused some prisons to reduce inmate populations to slow the spread of the virus.
Woodman did not know the exact day of Snow’s release, but said the Sheriff’s Office became aware about six to eight weeks ago he was out of custody.
Brammer was able to release only some information Thursday, citing an open investigation.
What is known from Durango police is that after officers arrived at O’Reilly Auto Parts and authorities set up a perimeter, an officer spotted a white man in his 30s in the back of the store trying to escape.
Snow then ran to the front of the store, where he encountered another officer. Police say that officer identified himself as law enforcement and Snow fired gunshots through the business’ glass door. Brammer declined to release information about the gun and where it came from.
No officers were injured during the incident.
Brammer said authorities on Friday were attempting to locate a woman who is considered an accomplice to the crime, identified as Terrianne Paige Hiehle, 23, of Durango. Police say she goes by her middle name, Paige.
Investigators believe Hiehle was the lookout and getaway driver to the crime, Brammer said, and an arrest warrant on charges of burglary was issued Thursday.
While authorities have been unable to locate the woman, Brammer said investigators have been able to communicate with her via phone, but she will not disclose her whereabouts.
Investigators are also keeping tabs on Hiehle’s social media activity, which has been active since the crime.
Around noon Wednesday, a post to Hiehle’s Facebook account said, “I just wish I would wake up from this awful nightmare.. please pray.”
Around 11 a.m. Thursday, a post to Hiehle’s account said she and Snow were a couple, and she begged him not to break into the store.
“I did drive him there but I never exited the truck,” the post reads. “Everybody is making me out to be the one at fault in this situation, but I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Her mother also has been openly conversing with Durango police on the department’s Facebook page, refusing to disclose her daughter’s location and blaming the incident on her addiction to drugs.
Hiehle is listed as white; with brown hair, possibly worn long; and green eyes. She is about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 130 pounds. Brammer said she, too, has an extensive criminal history that spans several states.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts or the incident is asked to call Detective Josh Newman at 375-4733.
Cmdr. Ray Shupe said earlier this week this is the first officer-involved shooting for the Durango Police Department since 2000. The investigation is being led by the 6th Judicial District Involved Investigation Team as well as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The incident was caught on the officer’s body cam, Shupe said.
The officer involved is expected to be interviewed by authorities Friday, Brammer said, after which time the identities of the officers involved will be released to the public.
The Durango Police Department has a policy that allows officers to wait up to 72 hours to be interviewed about police shootings.
Brammer said authorities have been in constant contact with the officer, providing a support network. The officer also has various services and resources available.
“He’s a very resilient man, and he’s doing well,” Brammer said.
As for the rest of the police department, officer-involved shootings can have an impact on morale and take an emotional toll, Brammer said. But officers tend to band together and support each other.
“We train for this, and mentally prepare for these types of events as best as we possibly can,” Brammer said. “It’s a reality of our job, one of the most unfortunate realities we face in the performance of our duties. These are terrifying events.”