|Profiles of suspects|
|Copyright © 1998 The Durango Herald. All
|June 3, 1998
By Joshua Moore
The words being used to describe Jason Wayne McVean, a 26-year-old Durango man suspected of taking part in the shooting death of a Cortez police officer, seem chillingly familiar. Quiet. Courteous. Responsible.
"Were just as amazed as everyone else about this," said Dovey McVean, the suspects cousin. "We just feel sorry for the officers family."
Dovey McVean, who recently returned to Durango, said her cousin had lived with her family several years ago, but she hadnt seen him in more than six months.
According to Glenn Hoselton, Jason McVeans step-grandfather, McVean lived in a camper-trailer near Animas Air Park south of Durango. Hoselton said he hadnt seen McVean in several months, but said he had always been quiet and courteous at family gatherings and "mustve just gotten in with the wrong crowd." McVean had always been a responsible businessman and a good worker for his father, Jim McVean, Hoselton said.
Gordon Lee, a mechanic with JM Constructors, located across the street from the McVean business, said McVean was a welder for his father.
"I dont think he did it. Hes not that kind of kid," Lee said. "I saw him last week sometime, but I dont remember exactly when."
McVean, who moved to Durango from Texas, was on the 1987 junior varsity football team at Durango High School. Most of his classmates dont remember him very well, and those who do say McVean was quiet, into music and liked to party.
Neighbors said there had been a young man living in the McVean house on East Fourth Avenue in Durango several years ago, but they had not seen him in at least six months. Others said the McVeans kept to themselves, although there had been a few young visitors with trucks and vans.
"From what I hear, they better get this straightened out fast or someone is going to get hurt unnecessarily," Hoselton said.
By John Peel
Neighbors wouldnt say much Tuesday about Durangoan Robert Mason, but those who talked expressed shock, and sadness for his parents, Gary and Ann.
Mason, 26, a bricklayer, is a suspect in a crime spree that included stealing two trucks, killing a Cortez police officer and wounding two deputies.
"Theyre nice, friendly people," said Jennings Bird, who lives two houses down from the Masons home. "Both the parents assuming theyre the parents are very nice people."
Said Ed Fross, who is a backyard neighbor to the Masons: "It was quite a surprise to me. (Robert) didnt appear that way to me."
One neighbor wouldnt comment, saying Robert Mason deserved a fair trial and that anything he would say might jeopardize that possibility.
Robert Mason was pictured in the 1988-89 Durango High School yearbook as a sophomore, but was not in the next two yearbooks.
A teacher in the district said school officials had no record for Mason after his sophomore year at DHS.
Gary Mason is a fifth-grade teacher at Needham Elementary School. He is a Vietnam War veteran and said to be conservative in his views. He is also said to be well-respected and appreciated as a teacher.
Ann Mason runs a downtown Durango business.
Robert Masons parents West Third Avenue home is a two-story brown house. Acquaintances described them as pretty quiet, private people. A neighbor said they own two German shepherds.
Durango Patrolman Russell Lammon talked to the Masons at their Durango home Tuesday soon after their son had been named a suspect.
He described the parents as being "very upset," and said they wish their son would surrender to authorities.
Lammon said the Masons have not seen or heard from him in the last several days.
(Herald Chief Photographer Nancy Richmond contributed to this report.)
By Tania Garcia
DOVE CREEK Tragedy seems to hit hardest in small communities. At least thats what the overwhelming feeling was Tuesday night in this agricultural town of about 500 people.
The town was in shock as word spread that one of its own boys Alan "Monte" Pilon, who grew up here was one of three suspects in the killing of a police officer and the wounding of two deputies last Friday in Cortez.
Signs with sketchy mug shots of the three men went up at the post office and the few businesses throughout town. Residents gathered at storefronts and parking lots spread the word.
"Its a real shock for us; we never heard of him getting into big trouble," said Vonda Hall, whose son went to school with Pilon. "It was especially a shock to his parents. When they leave home, you never know what theyre going to do."
Dolores County Judge Bob Johnson said Pilons parents, Beverly and Jim, are good people who raised their children in the Catholic church.
"Theyre salt of the earth, ya know," he said.
Jim is a butcher at the Dove Creek Superette Grocery, and Beverly runs her own beauty parlor, Johnson said. Both attend the same church he does.
Other folks remember Pilon (pronounced PILL-uhn) as a typical boy with a few oddities. But some said he was "wild" and hung around with a rough crowd who drank and smoked.
Mayor James McCabe recalled Pilon getting into trouble for breaking into the junior high and stealing electronic devices.
One of Pilons longtime friends, Will Champlain, knew Pilon since Champlain was 5 and graduated from Dolores County High School with him in 1985.
"We all got along with him," Champlain said. "He never caused any trouble. But he stayed to himself a lot."
Pilon was also an athlete.
"He played a lot of sports," Champlain said. Basketball was his favorite. Champlain thought the 6-footer played guard. He also played tight end on the football team for a few years.
"He liked to watch his dad make arrowheads," Champlain said.
Champlain hasnt kept up with Pilon recently, however. Champlain moved away from town for several years and said he hasnt seen Pilon for three or four years.
Other residents said they had seen him recently, even though he had been living in Durango where he had found a job.
"His mother was so proud of him," said Bertha Young, a Dove Creek resident.
Pilon had been returning to town frequently to see a girlfriend, several residents said.
Police spent much of Tuesday trying to find out more about Pilon. They searched the familys home on Main Street and knocked on townspeoples doors, showing his picture and asking if people knew anything.
Residents still are trying to figure out how to react to the sudden notoriety, when a few nights before they didnt even have to worry about locking their doors.
"I didnt want to believe it at first," said Jim Buffington, Pilons former history teacher in high school. "But I guess were part of the state now."
(Correspondent Bob Weinhold in Durango contributed to this story.)
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