Two men living homeless in Durango were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after allegedly attacking another homeless man with an ax and nearly killing him.
The Durango Police Department was dispatched around 4:30 p.m. Feb. 12 after it was reported a bleeding man lay in the road near the 3800 block of north Main Avenue.
While passersby thought the man had been hit by a car, the man, 45, told authorities he was attacked by two men, one of whom hit him with the blunt end of an ax.
The alleged victim said one of the men who assaulted him went by the name of “Arrow.” Arresting documents show Arrow is the well-known nickname for Roger Arrow Neal, 34, who allegedly brandished the ax.
The second alleged assaulter was described as having dreadlocks and wearing camouflage clothing. Both, according to the arrest affidavit, left the scene. The victim told a witness he had to “play dead” for them to leave.
The victim, too, is listed as living homeless in Durango. He told authorities the assault happened at his campsite “up the hill” from where he was found. It appears he was living a few yards west of the Colorado Department of Transportation building at 3803 Main Ave.
“(Officers) said the (victim) was in extreme pain, had lacerations to his face and possible broken ribs and a possibly dislocated knee,” the investigating officer wrote in the report.
The victim was ultimately taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center.
In interviews with officers, the victim said he previously met the man with dreadlocks, whose first name was Aaron, but he did not know his last name. The alleged victim told officers Aaron had recently moved next to his campsite.
On Feb. 11, the alleged victim told Aaron he was no longer welcome at the campsite because Aaron was staying up late, drinking, making noise and inviting a lot of people to the area.
Aaron became angry and threatened to kill the victim, the arrest affidavit says. The victim slept in another location that night, but returned to his original campsite around 3:45 p.m. Feb. 12.
The alleged victim was setting up his campsite around 4 p.m. when he was approached and punched in the face by Aaron, the victim told investigators, court records show.
Neal was allegedly at the campsite too with the ax, and Aaron and Neal started to attack the victim.
The victim said Neal told him, “I’m going to get that machete and cut his head off.” Officers noted in arresting documents that Neal was spotted within the last month carrying a machete.
The two alleged attackers then reportedly destroyed the victim’s belongings and campsite, and possibly stole his wallet.
Doctors at Mercy said the victim suffered a small puncture in his lung, bad bruising and had “a substantial risk of death.” Medical professionals said had the victim not been treated, he likely would have died, according to police.
Investigators eventually learned Aaron’s name was Aaron Abraham Duran, 46. It was learned he had multiple warrants for his arrest. The alleged victim identified and confirmed both Neal and Duran as the attackers when shown a photo of the men.
The two men were arrested on suspicion of the same charges: attempted first-degree murder, attempted-aggravated robbery, conspiracy and criminal mischief. As of Thursday, both were in custody at the La Plata County Jail.
Durango Police Department Cmdr. Jacob Dunlop said officers contacted local businesses where the two men were known to frequent. Officers learned Neal was inside south City Market on Feb. 14, and he was taken into custody.
Duran was taken into custody near Bayfield by the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 15, Dunlop said, but he did not have further details about the arrest.