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11/21/2013 Guns used in Pueblo West shooting linked to theft here

Two teens, six others arrested after home invasion; victim remains hospitalized

A complicated network of attempted murder and crime in Pueblo West has been connected to a Westcliffe burglary. Westcliffe resident, Michael Flanigan, reported on October 28 that several guns and computer equipment had been stolen from his home on County Road 220.

It has been determined that the property was stolen by Flanigan’s grandson, Evan Hesselberg, 17, of Pueblo West.

At least two of the guns were used during a home invasion in Pueblo West on Sunday, November 10. The resident, Cheryl Gonzales, 34, was shot through her front door by Devin Riensch, 16, and Hesselberg.

Gonzales refused to let Riensch and Hesselberg through her front door and that’s when they opened fire.

"Gonzales was shot," said Custer County Sheriff Fred Jobe. "She is now being treated at Parkview Medical Center." Her condition has not yet been released.

Pueblo Sheriff’s Office public information officer, Lisa Shorter, told the Tribune that the intent of the home invasion was to take money and drugs from the residence.

"Whether or not drugs were there, or what kind they were," Shorter said, "is still under investigation."

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office sent out a news release stating that, "PSCO Detectives have recovered seven weapons, two of which were found at the home of suspect Devin Riensch along with ammunition that is consistent with that fired into the home. The five other guns were recovered at a third home deputies searched after acquiring a warrant."

Hesselberg and Riensch are being charged with attempted first degree murder, felony burglary, felony assault, and criminal mischief.

"The investigation revealed that the two teens planned and committed a home invasion," the press release reported. "Within two days of the shooting, detectives made six other arrests involving persons associated to the incident."

The six other arrests include Stacey Riensch, Raymond Younger, Shane Vought, Clifford Halverson, Anthony Scott, and Blake Clement, all of the Pueblo area.

"There is not a direct association to the shooting and burglary," Shorter stated. "These other people were found while detectives conducted interviews. They either witnessed criminal behavior, or when the individuals were run through the system, it was discovered that they had existing warrants."

Shorter said that there was no indication that the incident was gang related, and that Hesselberg and Riensch did not stockpile guns.

"The weapons were stolen with the intent to sell," Shorter stated. "It was a matter of convenience that the guns were available."

Sheriff Jobe said that when Flanigan first reported the theft, his grandson Hesselberg was suspected by the Sheriff’s Department.

"But Flanigan didn’t believe that his grandson was to blame," Sheriff Jobe said. "It is safe to assume that this whole situation has come as a terrible shock to Flanigan and his family."

Hesselberg has been charged of first degree burglary in Custer County, but that charge is pending while he and the other suspects face multiple charges in Pueblo.

– J.E. Ward