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Cortez police sergeant and suspect killed in shootout after a traffic stop

Cortez police Sgt. Michael Moran.
Cortez Police Department
Cortez police Sgt. Michael Moran.

The Colorado Sun originally published this story at 5:08 PM on Nov. 29, 2023.

Editor's note: This is a developing story and may be updated as more information becomes available. Chris Clements, a reporter for KSJD in Cortez, also filed an audio story about the incident.

A police sergeant and a suspect were killed in a shootout following a traffic stop Wednesday in southwestern Colorado, authorities said.

The Cortez Police Department said the officer, Sgt. Michael Moran was shot after pulling over a vehicle shortly before noon in the rural town of Cortez in the Four Corners region, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. The suspects fled in their vehicle, and shots were exchanged with police a short time later.

One of the suspects was shot and died at the scene. Another was taken into custody.

The injured police officer was taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital, where he died.

Moran was hired by the Cortez Police Department in 2012 and was a K-9 handler. Before that, he served as a Marine for nine years, doing two tours of duty in Iraq.

Moran is survived by two daughters.

No other information has been released.

“I am saddened to hear of the tragic passing of the Cortez police officer in the line of duty,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a written statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with their family, as well as the Cortez Police Department and the community during this time. This officer dedicated their career to serving and protecting their community.”

The governor ordered flags across the state lowered to half-staff in honor of the fallen officer on the day of his memorial service.

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