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Attempted murder suspect arrested after disappearing with baby

Released on Friday, July 22, 2022
Contact Information
  • Public Information Office, Fort Collins Police Services, 970-818-8950, fcpsmedia@fcgov.com

A man wanted for attempted murder has been arrested after disappearing with a child he was babysitting.

On May 11, 2022 around 7:20 a.m., a woman called police to report that someone had stolen her purse from her vehicle overnight. She reviewed home security footage, which captured the suspect vehicle, a black Subaru. The victim saw the Subaru leaving her neighborhood that morning and followed it in her vehicle. She yelled to the driver to return her purse, at which point he threatened her with a handgun and drove away. She continued to follow, and the driver started shooting at her while driving recklessly through a school zone and populated areas with pedestrians present. The woman eventually stopped following him and provided police with a description of the vehicle and license plate. No injuries were reported in connection with this incident.

Criminal Impact Unit detectives conducted a lengthy investigation that included interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence from the path of travel, and locating shell casings with the assistance of K9 Gunnar. They ultimately identified the driver/shooter as Gabriel Motta, 50, of Fort Collins and submitted an arrest warrant request to the court in July.

On July 19 around 8:15 a.m., Fort Collins Police received a report of a missing 9-month-old child. His parents said he had been dropped off with his babysitter, Gabriel Motta, around 5 p.m. on July 17.

Motta was last known to have been at the bus stop by Denny’s on East Mulberry Street early on July 18, and the child’s parents had not been able to reach him since then. Responding officers learned that, in addition to the pending warrant for the May case, Motta also had a felony warrant from the Department of Corrections and a protection order restraining him from both of the child’s parents.

Less than an hour after the initial missing child report, officers located Motta at the Downtown Transit Center, where he was taken into custody without incident. Methamphetamine and several stolen items were recovered during the investigation. The child was in a stroller at the scene, and police located a loaded handgun under the blankets where he had been lying. He was not injured but was taken to an area hospital for a health assessment.

Motta was booked into the Larimer County Jail and issued a combined $125,000 cash/surety bond. He faces the following charges:

May 2022 Incident

  • Attempted First Degree Murder (class 2 felony)
  • Illegal Discharge of a Firearm – 3 counts (class 2 felony)
  • Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender (class 5 felony)
  • Felony Menacing (class 5 felony)

July 2022 Incident

  • Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender (class 5 felony)
  • Criminal Possession of Two or More Financial Devices (class 6 felony)
  • Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (class 1 misdemeanor)
  • Child Abuse (class 2 misdemeanor)
  • Violation of a Protection Order (class 2 misdemeanor)

“With a weapon hidden so close to an infant, and within reach of an individual who has such blatant disregard for human life, it’s a miracle nobody was harmed,” said Assistant Chief Tim Doran, who leads the Criminal Investigation Division. “I’m grateful to our detectives for their diligent work on the shooting case and officers who quickly rescued this child from further danger.”

All charges are simply an accusation by law enforcement, and all parties must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.