Kinterknecht was killed by gunfire July 23 by Montrose resident Dennis Gurney, 52; after shooting Kinterknecht and seriously wounding two other officers, Gurney killed himself with a handgun.
Known as guy with a “million-dollar smile” and a finely honed sense of humor, Kinterknecht was with the Montrose Police Department for 13 years, working as everything from shift supervisor to firearms instructor to chief hostage negotiator for the department’s SWAT team – as well as a volunteer with the Montrose Fire Department. Cedar Cemetery was overflowing by the time the slow-moving funeral procession reached the grounds from Montrose High, where a memorial service was held. At the service, Kinterknecht’s niece, Kaylee King, told the crowd what her uncle had meant to her:
“You always said go out and make a difference, and I hope I can make my mark on people like you did.”
Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn said Kinterknecht and other officers responded to a call fro Gurney’s wife about a domestic dispute at approximately 8:30 p.m. After arriving at the scene, they spent half-an-hour talking to her, and then to Gurney, who had barricaded himself in the garage of the couple’s upscale home on 6450 Road.
“They talked to the wife and then talked to the suspect, and our officers were basically ambushed as they made entry into the garage,” Chinn said. “He was waiting for our police officers to come in.”
After talks with Gurney broke down, Kinterknecht and the other officers decided to storm the building, backed up by fellow officers and Montrose sheriff’s deputies, Chinn said.
“My question is, why was this person armed and waiting for us to come in?” Chinn said. “I think he probably knew we were coming.”
When asked if this was a possible “suicide by cop,” in which a desperate person tries to lure police into a threatening enough situation that they are forced to shoot and kill him, Chinn said that was “probably right.”
Kinterknecht began his career with the Telluride Marshal’s Office, once ticketing actor (and part-time resident) Tom Cruise and remaining unmoved by his celebrity. He then went to work for the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, followed by the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and to the Montrose Police Department in 1996.
Over the years Kinterknecht held many positions with the Montrose police, among them teaching basic police work to new recruits.
In 1999 he received an award for saving a life and in 2001 he was given the Medal of Meritorious Service for diffusing a tense situation, in which a man was threatening others with a gun. He also received the police Merit Citation in 2008 for the quick apprehension of a suspect in the Vectra Bank robbery.
Police Chief Tom Chinn said Kinterknecht was “the most caring person in the world.”
Kinterknecht is survived by his wife, Kathy, and daughters Andrea and Amanda, for whom memorial funds have been established by the Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police and Montrose Bank.