Canon City councilman arrested
Updated On: May 31 2013 07:58:39 PM CDT
Cañon City police said they arrested Councilman Michael "Colby" Katchmer Thursday night.
Katchmer was one of two men arrested after a scuffle in the 600 block of Main Street downtown just before 9 p.m. Local artist Thomas Blake Lockhart, 59, also was arrested. Both are free on bond and are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
Katchmar and Lockhart are under investigation on charges of first-degree assault and crimes against at-risk adults. Police said the victims are Robert Martin, 70, and his wife, Margene Martin, 65.
"I'm shocked and surprised," said Mayor Tony Greer, who said he knows both men and that he's friends with Katchmar. "That's always a concern. When we're in the public eye, we do become targets. I'm kind of shocked they'd both be in a place and time where this might happen."
According to arrest documents, the suspects and the Martins were attending a wine-tasting event at Michael's on Main. The suspects were sitting at a table next to the Martins.
"The Martins asked a question about what would be the nature of mosquito control this summer in the city," said Police Chief Paul Schultz. "That started an argument between the groups."
The Martins told police that Katchmar continued to pester them and even physically blocked the door when the couple tried to leave. The said he shouted profanity at them.
Police said when the couple tried to enter their vehicle, the suspects confronted them, hit them, knocked them down and kicked Robert Martin in the face and ribs. When officers arrived responding to a report of a fight in progress, they found Margene Martin sitting in the street with the suspects standing over her.
Katchmar and Lockhart told police it was the Martins who were combative, and they were only defending themselves from the couple.
Kevin Holdridge, the restaurant's general manager, said he called 911 when he saw the argument escalating, and tried to break it up.
When police arrived, according to arrest documents, the Martins were bleeding from head injuries and Rober Martin had an egg-sized welt under his left eye. The couple received treatment at St. Thomas Moore Hospital, where doctors found hip fractures in Margene Martin.
The couple was released from the hospital and declined comment on the matter Friday.
Police said Katchmar was first given a summons by officers until they learned the hospital described Margene Martin's injuries as serious. Police later arrested Katchmar at his home.
The mayor explained why the subject of mosquitoes might lead to such a heated argument.
"I think there was some heated discussion about why we don't do more to control mosquitoes in a particular neighborhood," he said.
Greer commented on how the incident might affect Katchmar's status as a councilman.
"I'm going to reserve judgment until he has his day in court," Greer said. "I think (the Council) could ask him to step down until the matter is resolved, but I'm not sure at this point. I don't think it requires a guilty verdict to take action. Certainly, this gives us a black eye."
Greer praised Katchmar for his active role in downtown development, and Lockhart for being active in the community.
Police said there's no indication that the suspects or victims were intoxicated. The continuing investigation includes studying surveillance video from a camera inside the restaurant.
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