On Nov. 21, 1898, Hotchkiss Constable Robert G. Lewis was killed in the line of duty. The unarmed lawman stepped between two men. R.T. Fluke was being forced at gunpoint down Main Street by L.A. Harrison. The two men had been in dispute for some time over lots in the town. Harrison wanted to settle the matter that day by a gun fight with Fluke. Constable Lewis told Harrison to give him his shotgun and then reached into his coat pocket. Harrison shot Lewis in the throat. Constable Lewis died instantly. Fluke was able to run safely to his home. Harrison attempted to reload his shotgun but the shell ejector jammed. Harrison walked out of town and hid by Leroux Creek. Two days later he gave himself up to Delta County Sheriff George G. Smith. Harrison was set free after his trial on Feb. 14, 1899 at the Delta District Court.
Author Duane Freeman wrote about the bravery of Constable Robert G. Lewis in his book, "Sheriffs of Delta County Colorado And Related Stories." Keith Dameron, historian for the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial, read this account of Lewis and contacted Hotchkiss Marshal Dan Miller for verification of the facts of how Lewis died in the line of duty.
The Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial Committee met in October 2017 and approved Constable Robert G. Lewis being added to the memorial. The memorial ceremony will take place Friday, May 4, at Camp George West in Golden. Family members of Constable Lewis are invited to attend the event as well as members of the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office.
On Dec. 4 Delta County Commissioners Doug Atchley, Mark Roeber and Don Suppes denied the application of Paonia Holdings, LLC for a change of land use for the property at 41322 Highway 133, with an adjacent residence at 41402 Highway 133 and an ancillary property at 16180 Stevens Gulch Road.
The property is owned by Bowie Resources, LLC, and was formerly used as a coal load-out site.