AURORA, Colo. – An Arapahoe County judge on Monday sentenced a man who shot his gender-fluid neighbor in July 2018 and was convicted of a bias-motivated crime in September to 16 years in prison.
Jonathan William Hultquist, 41, was convicted by a jury on Sept. 5 of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and a bias-motivated crime for shooting his 54-year-old neighbor, who suffered multiple serious injuries.
According to prosecutors and police, Hultquist’s neighbors were having a party in a townhome complex near E. Ford Circle and E. Tennessee Ave. when Hultquist sped into the area as he parked in his parking spot.
Some of the people who were outside admonished him, telling him to be more careful around children. He went inside his home, appearing angry, but quickly came back outside.
He saw the gender-fluid neighbor and started targeting them with insults – taunting and antagonizing them, prosecutors said. The neighbor was using a male name at the time and wearing a wig, dress and high heels, the district attorney’s office said, and identifies as gender-fluid.
The party hosts separated the two, putting the neighbor in the garage with the door down. While inside, the neighbor called 911 to report an attack.
After some time, the neighbor left the garage to walk home while carrying a box cutter. But Hultquist was still outside yelling, and when he saw the neighbor, went back inside his house and grabbed a handgun.
As the argument continued into the street and as Aurora police officers were arriving to the scene, Hultquist shot the neighbor once in the torso from about 20 feet. Prosecutors said the bullet lodged in the neighbor’s spine, causing them nerve damage and the loss of a kidney, part of their intestines and colon, and to have several vertebrae fused.
“It’s not right that people go around shooting other people because they don’t like them or disagree with them,” the neighbor testified during sentencing.
Prosecutors said the neighbor was threatening no one that night and that Hultquist chose them because “He did not like who the victim is.”
“His words and actions reveal his bigotry and complete intolerance,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Garrik Storgaard told the judge at sentencing. “Instilling fear in people because of their beliefs must be condemned. His actions deserve a harsh sentence.”
District Court Judge Ben Leutwyler said he was “convinced” there was bias involved in the shooting.
“You went in and retrieved a gun, then you came back out,” he told Hultquist at sentencing. “You could have just stayed inside. But you escalated things.”