gavel and justice scales

A 31-year-old Colorado man who was arrested for firing a gun out of a hotel-room window in October had two felony charges dismissed in Lincoln County Court Thursday afternoon.

Jorge Sarandingua Alpizar was charged with use of a firearm to commit a felony as well as making a reckless terroristic threat.

An initial count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person was dismissed.

County Judge Kent Turnbull ruled in the contested preliminary hearing that there was no proof that anyone was in imminent danger or felt threatened from the two shots that Sarandingua Alpizar fired Oct. 16 from the second floor of his room at the Quality Inn.

The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the case could be refiled by the County Attorney’s Office. Turnbull also told Sarandingua Alpizar he could potentially face drug possession charges from the incident.

John Stadler, who has 19 years’ experience as a North Platte police officer, was the only witness called to testify.

Stadler was one of the law enforcement agents who responded after a series of 911 calls that reported gunfire at the hotel. He said they determined the shots had come from Room 218.

Sarandingua Alpizar did not immediately respond to law enforcement requests to come to the door. An officer who tried to get in with a hotel master key found the door had been barricaded with furniture.

Sarandingua Alpizar soon came out of the room and met with officers in the hallway.

Stadler said a case shell was found on the floor of the hotel room, and a Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter semi-automatic gun was stuffed underneath a mattress.

Law enforcement also found about $40,000 in cash and a zip-close bag that contained a white crystal substance, later confirmed to be 9 grams of methamphetamine.

Stadler testified that a bullet hole was found in the overhang outside the room and another shell was discovered on the sidewalk beneath the window.

Stadler said no one in neighboring rooms had fled out of concern and some were unsure what they had heard were gunshots. There was one hotel employee outside the building when the shots were fired, but Stadler said the individual was about 25 feet away from the window.

During an interview at the police station, Sarandingua Alpizar claimed that he was running from people who were after him trying to find the location of his acquaintance who was involved in a narcotics transaction, Stadler testified. Sarandingua Alpizar told Stadler that he thought he saw them outside the hotel and he fired the shots to scare them.

Stadler testified that he felt Sarandingua Alpizar seemed paranoid and showed signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance or suffering a mental health incident.

Sarandingua Alpizar was transported to Great Plains Health after the police interview for emergency protective custody.

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