LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – A weekend trip to the zoo turned into a near-death experience for a Loveland couple who came face to face with the barrel of a gun.

“Once we see the gun, I just … there’s just no questions. I just put my foot to the floor and just tried to get away. Then you hear the gunshot go off.”

It was Sunday just after 9 a.m. when the couple, who didn’t want to be identified, were headed from Loveland to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It’s a drive they take regularly along East Eisenhower Boulevard from Loveland, but last Sunday the unthinkable happened.

(credit: CBS)

What they interpreted as an average case of frustrated driving was an extreme case of road rage. They were confronted by an erratic driver who pointed a gun at them and fired.

“He was flipping us off and cussing at us and then we exchanged words back to him and then he pointed the gun at us.”

The female victim was sitting in the passenger seat and her boyfriend was driving when he said the driver, weaving in and out of traffic, cut in front of them from a turn lane near Walmart.

“He just slams on his brakes and we about went through him,” he said.

The couple initially chalked it up to the woes of weekend traffic and at one point, saw him waving his hand out the window. They thought he was trying to apologize.

“Maybe he’s waving us on apologizing, didn’t see us…”

As the couple got closer, they realized he was flipping them off and swearing. They said they exchanged words with him thinking, that was the end of it.

The young woman was sitting in the passenger seat when the suspect aimed the gun at her and fired. She credits her quick thinking boyfriend for saving her life.

“Then he saw the gun, he sped up. Otherwise I would’ve been done.”

Police know the suspect was carrying a stolen 9MM Smith and Wesson. The single round he fired just missed the passenger side door.

“A bullet hole in our truck about 2 feet away from where I was sitting. I just started crying. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

They say the man was a younger Hispanic man, in his 20s or early 30s, about six feet tall and around 280 pounds. He had little to no hair on his head.

Loveland police say the vehicle he was driving was a stolen 2017, grey Honda CRV. Officers also believe the suspect was involved the theft of a pistol from an unlocked vehicle and the subsequent motor vehicle theft that occurred earlier in the day.

Loveland police is the primary investigating agency but the Northern Colorado Shootings Task Force, which was created in 2018 after a series of random shootings, says it will likely take a look at the case.

Jamie Leary

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