A district court judge on Wednesday found probable cause to try Michael Quirova on seven counts of attempted murder for firing at least seven gunshots into the 8th Avenue Tavern on Jan. 29, striking and injuring two patrons on the pub’s patio.
Quirova, 27, whose last permanent residence was Colorado Springs, was arrested shortly after the late-night shooting in the 400 block of Goeglein Gulch Road after receiving a tip from a witness that the suspect was headed east from the 800 block of College Drive.
The shooting occurred about 11 p.m., and Quirova was arrested in connection with firing at least seven times randomly from a handgun into the pub’s patio, hitting Stephanie Celeste Faumui and Jeffrey Michael Starns.
Faumui was shot in a shoulder and Starns in a knee.
The ruling from District Judge William Herringer came Wednesday morning, after he heard more than 3½ hours of testimony Tuesday from Durango Police Department officers who responded to the chaotic scene.
“The court will find for the purpose of this hearing that it’s appropriate for us to look at all of the people inside of that enclosed, fairly small space as being people that were put in grave risk of death,” Herringer said in ruling that Quirova would face seven counts of attempted murder.
Herringer said evidence showed Quirova had visited the patio, which is used as an outdoor smoking area, earlier that night, knew people were present on it and knew firing into the patio area could have gravely injured or killed someone.
One charge sought by prosecutors, second-degree assault, which was based on Quirova telling an officer he had COVID-19 and coughing in the presence of the officer, was not accepted by Herringer. (Quirova did not test positive for COVID-19.)
If the charge were to be accepted, Herringer said logically anyone with a disease transmitted through respiratory exchange might be charged with assault merely for breathing in the presence of another person.
Herringer accepted all other charges the prosecution presented, including two counts of first-degree assault for the shootings of Faumui and Starns.
Other charges Quirova will face include: possession of a weapon by a previous offender, violation of a protection order and two counts of resisting arrest.
Arraignment in the case was set for 8 a.m. May 14.
According to an arrest affidavit, after being held at gunpoint, Quirova resisted arrest. He tried to pull away from officers, requiring the use of a Taser. Quirova continued to resist arrest, but was eventually handcuffed.
Quirova then told officers he was COVID-19 positive and coughed in an officer’s face, court documents show.
Several witnesses identified Quirova as the shooter. Investigators also matched fresh footprints in the snow from 8th Avenue Tavern to the 400 block of Goeglein Gulch Road to boots Quirova was wearing.
At the jail, Quirova started resisting again and fought jail staff members. He was taken to the ground and placed in a resistance wrap.
Law officers also testified that they discovered a gun case matching the suspected firearm in Quirova’s house after executing a search warrant several days after the shooting.
On Feb. 2, Durango police officers found the gun used in the shooting about 50 yards from where Quirova was arrested on Goeglein Gulch Road.
Quirova had been recently released from Hilltop House community corrections center, which provides transitional housing to parolees and criminal offenders who are required to work and earn income while living in the community.
He was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time of his arrest because he was still on parole.
Quirova has a criminal record dating to 2008 that includes convictions for burglary, possession of a controlled substance, vehicular eluding and flight escape.
According to a report in The Colorado Springs Gazette, in 2013, Quirova had a long standoff with police, in which he allegedly held a female hostage against her will inside an apartment.
A SWAT team forced entry and took Quirova into custody. According to state records, he was sentenced to prison and was eligible for parole in March 2020.