DENVER (CBS4) – A high-speed police chase down Interstate 70 came to an end near the Mousetrap in Denver on Thursday, and officials have been forced to close a significant portion of westbound I-70 while a death investigation takes place. It started with an armed carjacking outside a liquor store on Main Street in Strasburg, about 40 miles east of Denver, and it ended up with the male suspect dead.
“This morning at about 10:48 a.m. we got a 911 call from a man in the town of Strasburg who reported that his car was stolen after being confronted with a man with a gun … who demanded his wallet and keys,” Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Capt. Jared Rowlison said.
The victim complied with the suspect’s demands. He wasn’t hurt, but he told police he was shook up after getting held up at gunpoint.
Rowlison said soon afterwards a deputy spotted the victim’s stolen car traveling westbound on I-70 and got in behind it. The deputy tried to stop the driver, but he didn’t comply and the chase continued in towards the city with speeds that exceeded 100 mph. Numerous other deputies joined in the chase, and the suspect slowed down once he was in the Denver metro area, where deputies “were able to get the car stopped in the area of I-70 and Washington,” according to Rowlison. At that point, multiple Denver police officers jumped in to help with the operation.
A CBS4 crew interviewed a witness who saw the conclusion of the chase.
“You could hear the police yelling at the driver,” witness Evan Dupree said. “You could hear them saying get out of the car, driver get out of the car, put your hands up.”
They said they work near the Mousetrap (where I-70 & Interstate 25 meet) and heard officers yelling and gunshots.
“Then we heard a couple of gunshots probably like four or five,” said Dupree.
“Our deputies were issuing a number of commands to this person in the car to get out of the car so he could be safely taken into custody,” Rowlison said.
Denver Police Technician Jay Casillas said officers fired “less-lethal rounds” — pepper ball and bean bag ammunition — to try to get the suspect to comply with their commands. He said they didn’t fire any bullets.
“Sometime later, officers and deputies heard a gunshot come from the vehicle,” Casillas said.
Police said the suspect was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead from what they believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Traffic was backed up for miles after the crash. The westbound lanes of I-70 were shut down for most of the afternoon between the Mousetrap and Interstate 270. Those lanes reopened at 5:15 p.m.