Death of suspect confirmed, homicide investigation ongoing



The investigation into a homicide that occurred on March 11 is ongoing, according to Pagosa Springs Police Department Chief Bill Rockensock.

The investigation remains ongoing despite the New Mexico death of a man questioned in the case.

The New Mexico State Police (NMSP) confirmed on Friday, March 16, the death of a 29-year-old Pagosa Springs man who they have stated was a suspect in a homicide that occurred on March 11.

According to NMSP Public Information Officer Ray Wilson, NMSP officers were dispatched to a residence near Chama, N.M., around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, in reference to an unattended death.

Officers found 29-year-old Michael Moats, of Pagosa Springs, deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Wilson indicated in a statement to The SUN.

“He was one of several individuals questioned by agents and local detectives this week in connection with the Ski and Bow Rack incident and was then released. The investigation is ongoing,” said Pagosa Springs Police Department (PSPD) Chief Bill Rockensock on Friday.

The NMSP has concluded its involvement in its case.

“Law enforcement agents have been interviewing dozens of individuals in connection with the incident and are waiting for evidence from the crime scene to be processed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations’ crime lab,” reads a press release from the Town of Pagosa Springs. “The evidence processing will take several weeks, and may be longer.”

Authorities released a description of the suspect the morning following the incident.

He is believed to be Caucasian, approximately between 5 foot 7 inches and 5 foot 9 inches tall, with brown hair, a small-to-medium build, and weighing approximately 140 to 150 pounds.

He was wearing a hooded camouflage jacket and possibly snow pants.

“We believe this person is a local,” said Pagosa Springs Police Department Detective Scott Maxwell.

Authorities have also released the description of a vehicle that is possibly associated with the incident, though the connection has not been confirmed.

The vehicle is described as a late ‘80s to late ‘90s Toyota 4Runner or Nissan Pathfinder.

It’s described as very muddy, with possible homemade camouflage on the bottom of the vehicle and having a roof rack.

Larry Fisher, 71, owner of the Ski and Bow Rack, was shot in the chest the night of March 11 while interrupting a burglary.

He was flown to St. Anthony’s in Lakewood and passed away from his injuries the following morning.

A press release from Town Manager Andrea Phillips explains that around 9:20 p.m., Fisher interrupted an attempted burglary at the store.

Fisher is believed to have been working late.

“He was shot in the chest by the suspect, who had a handgun, sometime between 9:20 pm and 9:30 pm,” reads the release. “Law enforcement was notified through a 911 call that was made at approximately 9:33 pm.”

Fisher is believed to have passed away at 4:29 a.m. on Monday.

It’s currently unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the incident, with the only known motive at this time being attempted burglary.

The press release adds that nothing specific has been reported as stolen.

A GoFundMe page has been created and can be found at

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call 264-4151, ext. 243 or email