Details released about Eldora shooting
Details released about Eldora shooting

Investigators found a military backpack, glass tubes and kitty litter on the passenger floorboard of a car belonging to a man who gunned down the general manager of Eldora Mountain Resort last week, according to a search warrant affidavit released Wednesday.

Dressed in black with a magazine holster strapped to his left thigh and a gun holster on his right thigh, Derik Bonestroo seemed to have planned the Dec. 30 attack that killed 49-year-old Brian Mahon, Detective Chris Fiegel wrote in the affidavit.

Bonestroo, 24, of Nederland, died during an ensuing shootout with a Boulder County sheriff’s deputy, and was “clutching a ‘glock’ semi-automatic handgun in his right hand,” Fiegel wrote in the affidavit, which outlined belongings found in Bonestroo’s car, apartment and parents’ home.

The items in his car sparked initial suspicion that Bonestroo had planned to make an explosive device or mobile meth lab, although Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said no explosives have been found.

“But they did find a lot of ammunition,” Pelle said.

Bonestroo moved to a single-story home in Nederland in November, when he started working at Eldora, according to authorities.

Among the list of items confiscated from Bonestroo’s apartment were medication and a dead cat that had been stabbed several times, Pelle said.

Other items taken from his apartment include: an empty glock magazine, a digital camera, an Apple laptop, a spiral notebook, a bank card, a small-game hunting license, a cell phone and a friendship bracelet.

From Bonestroo’s bedroom at his family’s home near Longmont, where he spent Christmas Eve, detectives found several rifle cases. Pelle said Bonestroo previously worked at a gun shop and studied gunsmithing at Trinidad State Junior College, a community college in southern Colorado.

“It seemed to be an innocent interest,” Pelle said.

Bonestroo’s father told police his son had two handguns in his possession when he moved out, Fiegel wrote in the affidavit. But, Pelle said, the family didn’t know anything about Bonestroo’s intentions with the weapons.

The morning of the shooting, Bonestroo â a lift operator at Eldora â told his co-workers, “If you’re not Christian, you’re going to die.” When he asked Mahon to state his religion, Mahon said “Catholic,” and Bonestroo shot him in the chest and head.

Witness April Wilson told investigators everyone ran when Bonestroo fired. She escaped into “the woods and as she was running recalled hearing an additional four to five shots being fired,” Fiegel wrote.

Interviews with friends and family members have indicated Bonestroo recently had been suffering “significant emotional distress,” but Pelle said privacy laws prohibit him from discussing details of Bonestroo’s mental state.

He did say people experiencing a “mental health crisis” often fixate on something.

“Some times it’s religion and some times it’s other things,” Pelle said. “I don’t know that this was about religion as much as it was a mental-health crisis.”

Pelle said an investigation of the homicide and officer-involved shooting will wrap up next week, and his office will release the results of those investigations at that time. Boulder County Coroner Tom Faure said it will be several weeks before his office will have Bonestroo’s toxicology report.

Archived comments

“If you’re not Christian, you’re going to die.”

Wow, is this guy related to Bush?


1/7/2009 3:36:52 PM

“As Bonestroo talked with Davis, the woman said she noticed a gun strapped to his thigh along with a large knife. She thought he was a police officer until realizing he didn’t have a badge, “


1/7/2009 3:37:57 PM

It just makes me sick that nobody was able to stop this obvious crystal meth head before he hurt someone.


1/7/2009 3:40:52 PM

One can make an explosive device with kitty litter?


1/7/2009 3:42:42 PM

This is the first I’ve heard of religion and violence being linked together, hope this is a fluke and not some sort of new trend


1/7/2009 4:00:38 PM

What kind of “explosive” are they referring to?Seems like he was a ticking time-bomb himself: mental illness + gun ‘enthusiast’.

This cries out “help me” and yet the parents (and therapists prescribing his meds) “didn’t have any idea”??? BS


1/7/2009 6:13:40 PM

When those towel-heads over in the middle east make car bombs, kitty litter is used to help stabilize the bomb while they’re in motion. Or, the guy had a cat.


1/7/2009 6:21:41 PM

“Or, the guy had a cat.”

There was a news story that this guy killed his cat before he went on his rampage.*But it must have been for a much more nefarious purpose than it’s intended use.


1/7/2009 7:03:41 PM

towel heads?Your intelligence is showing.


1/7/2009 6:43:05 PM

I can’t believe you aren’t figuring out what the connection is with Charles and Hope. We even know their names a week later. Hello—what is their story???? Are you going to try to say they can’t be found?


1/7/2009 9:21:50 PM

What church did he attend?


1/8/2009 6:29:25 AM

To lynn_segal — PLEASE go back on your meds!


1/8/2009 6:48:24 AM

Bonestroo’s mug is an offense to everyone

who has to view it and should be removed.

Let those who stand by him “quietly mourn”

him, but if you’re going to memorialize

a cold-blooded killer why not put up pics

of Harris and Klebold as well?

Being mentally imbalanced does not make

horrific acts acceptable.


1/8/2009 9:20:58 AM

“As Bonestroo talked with Davis, the woman said she noticed a gun strapped to his thigh along with a large knife. She thought he was a police officer until realizing he didn’t have a badge.”

I sure would like to know why this quote was removed from the article.

Has Ms. Davis finally come to her senses and realized that she should have made a call to the police?

Cynthia, your 15 minutes of fame are up!


1/8/2009 11:14:54 AM

Kitty Litter is used to keep the bomb components from separating…its what those towel heads use in Iraq. As for the cat? Maybe he shot it so that it wouldnt have a crappy life at the humane society.


1/8/2009 12:08:16 PM


1/8/2009 12:39:56 PM

“One can make an explosive device with kitty litter?”I seem to remember the first day the cops thought they found cocaine in the car (info. from some guy who was monitoring a scanner).Lordy, I’ll bet that kitty litter really rips up the inside of your nose!Can’t quite recall if I ever tried it back in the day……


1/8/2009 2:42:49 PM

The DailyCamera is more censored than our secret American torture camps!


1/8/2009 4:07:58 PM

This brings us back to the core question that pro-gun fanatics and their lobbyists at the NRA can’t seem to answer honestly:

Should Mentally Ill People Be Allowed to Possess Firearms?


1/13/2009 11:04:35 AM