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Fort Collins man arrested after May shooting, July missing child incidents

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Jul 25, 2022

DENVER – A Larimer County man was arrested last week for multiple alleged crimes from the past few months – the latest coming after he was found with a gun at the Fort Collins transit center with a baby whose parents had a protection order against him.

Gabriel Motta, 50, of Fort Collins, was arrested July 19 for investigation of weapons possession, child abuse, and protection order violation charges. He also faces attempted murder and felony menacing charges from an incident in May in which he is accused of firing a gun at a woman.

According to Fort Collins police, on May 11, a woman had her purse stolen out of her car overnight. She saw the suspect’s vehicle, a black Subaru, on home security video, and the next morning decided to follow it out of her neighborhood.

According to police, the man in the vehicle threatened her with a gun and drove away. She followed him, and he started shooting at her while they drove through a school zone and pedestrian-heavy areas, police said. She eventually stopped following him and gave a description of the vehicle to officers.

Officers eventually identified Motta as the man in the car who was shooting at the woman and applied for a warrant for his arrest, according to the department.

On the morning of July 19, the parents of a 9-month-old boy who had dropped him off with Motta around 5 p.m. on July 17 reported the boy missing, police said. The boy’s parents said they had not been able to get in touch with Motta since the day beforehand.

Police found that he had a Department of Corrections warrant out, as well as a protection order from both of the 9-month-old boy’s parents.

Police found Motta at the Fort Collins Downtown Transit Center about an hour after the boy’s parents called police and arrested him. They said they found meth and stolen items with him. The child was in a stroller, and police said they also found a gun under some blankets. The boy was not injured, police said.

Police arrested him and booked him into the Larimer County jail, where he received a $125,000 cash or surety bond. Motta faces six felony counts tied to the May shooting and two felony and three misdemeanor counts for the July incident, according to police and court records.

“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 Fort Collins Assistant Police Chief Tim Doran. “I’m grateful to our detectives for their diligent work on the shooting case and officers who quickly rescued this child from further danger.”