CSP: Shot trooper improving, will have more surgery today

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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado State Patrol trooper who was shot while helping a motorist was awake and in “good spirits” Friday morning.

According to a Facebook post, Eugene Hofacker, will need additional surgery.

Hofacker and another trooper stopped to help a motorist on the side of the road Thursday morning. As Hofacker approached the car, the driver shot him.

Hofacker’s partner returned fire, killing the driver. Authorities have not identified him or said why he would open fire on a trooper.

Family members told FOX31 Denver the shooter was Thomas Ornelas.

Brother Johnny Ornelas said his brother has a long violent criminal history.

Hofacker was taken to a hospital in Glenwood Springs. In a statement Friday morning the Patrol said “I want to let you know that Trooper Hofacker is awake this morning and communicating with us. He is in good spirits as he prepares for additional surgery today.”

Hofacker is a 6-year veteran of the Patrol. He has a girlfriend who was with him in the hospital, CSP spokesman Scott Hernandez said.