ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)– The suspect who shot an off duty police officer during an armed robbery at a Circle K told police his 2-year-old daughter was in the car at the time. Samuel McConnell was arrested on Wednesday night in the parking lot of an apartment complex near 83rd and Sheridan in Westminster.

(credit: CBS)

According to an arrest affidavit, McConnell confessed to the incident in Arvada and two other robberies- one in Erie and another in Westminster.

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The shooting in Arvada early Wednesday morning prompted the Arvada Police Department to request a ‘Blue Alert‘ be issued by Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Samuel McConnell

Samuel McConnell (credit: Arvada Police)

“Our system goes statewide,” spokesperson Susan Medina said.

According to Medina, for years the Federal Emergency Alert system was only used to help law enforcement in the form of an Amber Alert.

That changed in 2016 when the federal government approved its use when a police officer is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty and a suspect is on the run.

(credit: Arvada Police)

Arvada police spokesperson David Snelling said the alert was key in the quick capture of McConnell.

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“In this case when we have someone willing to shoot at an off duty police officer, actually anyone, it’s quite scary for the public,” said Snelling.

(credit: CBS)

The Blue Alert that went out statewide on Wednesday was also longer than normal, which will be the new standard. A change that was made so more information can be shared at once.

“When you’re looking at 90 characters, that real estate gets gobbled up really quickly when you have a name or a license plate or a car description,” Medina said.

Susan Medina (credit: CBS)

And while some questioned the timing of the alert, Medina said they understand every second counts.

“We want to do it as quickly as possible but A- we have to make sure the criteria is met and B- we want to make sure the information is accurate because we have one shot,” she said.

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(credit: CBS)

Since being implemented the Blue Alert has only been used twice, including McConnell’s case.

Karen Morfitt