A man who refused to climb down from a tree kept Cortez police officers and Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputies waiting for three hours and avoided a fire department ladder crew before he climbed down, fled over a fence and was arrested.
According to a police incident report, a Cortez police officer responded to a report on March 31 at about 6:30 p.m. of a suspicious male in the area of 441 E. Fourth St.
While in the area, the officer noticed a man in a tree north of Sleeping Ute Apartments in an open field. The officer drove his patrol vehicle into the field and approached the tree on foot. The man in the tree was identified as 30-year-old Sheldon Shorty.
According to Cortez Police Department Lt. Andy Brock, Shorty had an active arrest warrant for violation of a protection order and violation of bail bond conditions.
When the officer asked Shorty to come down, he climbed higher in the tree, reaching a height of at least 25 feet.
Members of the Cortez Fire Protection District and emergency medical services workers assisted officers at the scene. Cortez firefighters used a ladder to attempt to retrieve Sheldon, but he refused to cooperate.
“Sheldon then tied his hoodie around his neck and attempted to tie the hoodie to the tree,” wrote Cortez Police Department Officer Charles Osborn. “The hoodie was not big enough to tie around the tree, so Sheldon tied the hoodie around smaller branches he broke off the tree. I believe Sheldon did this so he could jump between a V shaped part of the tree while the smaller branches tied in the other end of hoodie held him.”
When it became clear that Sheldon would not come down while law enforcement and the fire department were present, officers left the scene and waited for him to come down.
Additional units from the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office assisted in waiting for Sheldon to come down.
According to the incident report, Sheldon came down from the tree roughly three hours later and jumped the fence at the north side of the Sleeping Ute Apartments. Deputies waiting in the area detained him without incident.
Sheldon was then transported to Montezuma County Jail. He performed a portable breath test, recording a 0.06 breath alcohol content.