Sentence Sends Strong Message

A Grand Junction man will be spending the rest of his life behind bars for firing a gun at a police officer.

Daniel Roy Alexander was sentenced to 80 years in prison Monday morning at the Mesa County Justice Center.

He was convicted in October of second-degree attempted murder and several other counts, including menacing with a deadly weapon.

The incident happened in January 2005, when he fired at a Grand Junction police officer after trying to steal a car.

This was the first critical incident investigation in the Valley and prosecutors say the evidence clearly shows the officer had just cause to return fire, adding that while Alexander may be in jail for the rest of his life, things could have ended up differently.

"(Officer) Ferguson had every right to shoot, Mr. Alexander's lucky to be alive, so even though he has to spend the rest of his life in jail, it's not such a bad deal," Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said.

While Alexander's sentence was not the maximum allowed, Hautzinger said it sends a message that shooting not only at a police officer, but anyone, will not be tolerated in Mesa County.