GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4)– An early morning police chase near the Colorado-Utah border ended with a crash and shooting death of a sexual assault suspect wanted out of Lakewood.
About 7:45 a.m. police attempted to stop a driver wanted out of Lakewood who then sped off while officers pursued.
The suspect crashed the vehicle near mile marker one on Interstate 70 just one mile from the state line after he was forced off the road by Colorado State Patrol. Witnesses said he began shooting at police.
“He was shooting out the back window. Then I could see where he went back down, he went back down, he shot again and that’s when they just returned fire on him,” said one witness.
The suspect was shot and killed by officers.
Investigators believe the driver is the same suspect wanted for an attempted kidnap, attempted sexual assault and aggravated robbery out of Lakewood.
About 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Colorado Mills Mall parking lot of the Target store in the 14500 block of West Colfax, a woman exited the store and walked to her vehicle.
She told police a black man approached her, forced her into her car and tried to assault her. She was able to escape and run back into the store to get help.
“This shows me the man was not only desperate but very dangerous,” said Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis. “A lot of witnesses in the parking lot said they could hear her screaming for help. Some of them tried to pull up or turn their lights on him to distract him. I’m not sure how she was able to do it but she was able to get out of the passenger side.”
Police in Lakewood sent out an alert to be on the lookout for a dark blue Ford pickup. That pickup was located in Grand Junction early Wednesday morning.
When police attempted to make contact the driver took off. That is when the 20-mile chase ensued that ended in a crash and deadly shooting of the suspect.
He is believed to be the same suspect in the Lakewood attack. His identity has not been released.
Westbound lanes of I-70 were closed during the crash investigation.
Officers from Grand Junction, Fruita, the Colorado State Patrol and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office including SWAT all assisted in the pursuit and crash investigation.