GLENWOOD CANYON, Colo. (CBS4) – Shots rang out on Interstate 70 Thursday morning in Glenwood Canyon, and one person wound up dead and a trooper with Colorado State Patrol was hurt.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said two state troopers were traveling in the same vehicle to a training event in Glenwood Springs when they stopped to assist a motorist who had pulled over to the shoulder.
“A couple of State Patrol troopers were on their way to Glenwood Springs and apparently stopped a vehicle on a motorist assist,” Vallario said. “Something occurred where the driver shot one of the troopers who was in contact with him … second trooper on scene returned fire and the suspect was shot and killed.”
Vallario said the trooper who approached the vehicle on the driver’s side was the trooper who was shot.
“The other trooper was behind to the right and running license plates. When the shooting occurred he engaged the suspect,” Vallario said.
The trooper who was shot has been identified as Eugene Hofacker, 31, of Vail-Avon. He’s undergone surgery and is listed in critical but stable condition at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. It’s not clear where he was shot.
The name of other trooper who shot the suspect hasn’t’ been released, nor has the name of the suspect, who police say has a very long and violent criminal history.
There was only one person in the suspect vehicle.
State Patrol troopers usually are alone in their cruisers.
“Fortunately there was a second trooper to take care of the suspect so he couldn’t do more harm to the trooper already injured, but beyond that … there were several troopers on the way to training and literally within seconds, if not moments after that, they were able to secure the scene. They were able to administer first aid to the wounded trooper,” Vallario said.
Walt Stowe with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department said the trooper suffered serious loss of blood after being shot.
Both directions of Interstate 70 had to be closed for the investigation making drivers take a detour that added several hours to their trip. Eastbound I-70 was closed for only a couple hours and reopened shortly after 2 p.m. Westbound I-70 was closed immediately after the shooting and didn’t reopen until approximately 5:30 p.m.
“Our first priority is the crime scene. We want to make sure we gather all the evidence and do everything right. And if that means delaying traffic and not being able to open westbound lanes, I apologize for that, but obviously I think everyone understands this crime scene takes priority,” Vallario said.