ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – The man suspected of shooting and injuring a 14-year veteran with the Denver Police Department at a gas station on Wednesday morning has been identified. Arvada police say Samuel McConnell, 43, was the person wearing a mask who robbed the Circle K at West 80th Avenue and Kipling Street and shot the detective, who was off-duty but tried to stop the crime.
The officer is recovering after being shot in both arms.READ MORE: Jeffco Public Schools Aims To Offer Flexibility With Remote Learning Next Fall
Police say McConnell was arrested at the Copperwood Apartments off 82nd Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster on Wednesday night, thanks to a tip about the suspect vehicle. Officers confirmed the damage to the rear driver’s side taillight of the 2013 Chevy Equinox was consistent with the damage observed on the suspect vehicle in surveillance, including a windshield damage attributed to gunfire.
McConnell was arrested when he exited the residence to take his dog for a walk.
Officers spent hours after his arrest investigating the scene, including looking through a dumpster. He didn’t have any weapons when he was located, according to police. The suspect’s car was abandoned nearby.
A man and his daughter who were at the gas station Wednesday morning said the situation quickly got very dangerous.
“I was just, like, in line to check out and I turned around and I saw him with a gun and a ski mask,” said Avery Anderson.
“I didn’t know anything until she came running out to my car and I hear that guy say ‘Stop.’ She said ‘There’s a guy with a gun in the store.’ I told her to get down and the gunshots started going off,” said Anderson’s father.
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The clerk working at the gas station told police that he saw the suspect, later identified as McConnell, walk into the store “all covered up, wearing a heavy coat with the hood up and a black face mask” and that he knew exactly what was happening because another gas station in Erie had been robbed a couple of days before. The clerk told the customer he was helping what was happening and he ran out of the store.
According to the arrest affidavit, McConnell walked behind the counter and said, “You know what’s happening, you’ve got two minutes.” The clerk helped McConnell get about $200 cash from the drawer. That’s when McConnell said, “You did the right thing. That’s for cooperating.”
McConnell walked out of the store and that’s when the clerk heard five to eight gunshots before McConnell left the gas station in a beige/tan SUV.
Another witness said she saw a gold Chevy SUV speed out of the Circle K parking lot and come in contact with her vehicle, which caused her to spin and end up in the parking lot of the gas station.
McConnell is being held on a $1 million bond and police say he confessed to the crime. He tentatively faces charges including robbery and attempted first degree murder, and is also suspected in an armed robbery in Erie.
According to police documents, McConnell said he had his 2-year-old daughter in the car with him at the Circle K. He says he took the license plates off the car to help conceal his identity.
That SUV has been identified in several robberies with the same vehicle description and the same suspect description. One of the robberies occurred at the Circle K gas station in Erie on Dec. 16. The suspect vehicle was described as a tan/gold Chevy Equinox. The suspect was wearing a mask, a brown hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and gloves. The suspect demanded money and when the clerk refused to open the cash register, the suspect racked the slide of a semi-automatic weapon as if he was loading the weapon. The suspect eventually knocked one of the cash registers to the floor and took the cash drawer out of the other register.
The suspect description and suspect vehicle description matched the robbery at the Winchell’s doughnut store at 7930 Sheridan Blvd. on Dec. 17.
McConnell admitted to police to robbing the Circle K in Erie, the Winchell’s in Westminster and the Circle K in Arvada. He also admitted to an incident on Monday at the Chase Bank in the 8100 Block of Sheridan Boulevard in which he admitted to beginning to approach a vehicle at the ATM but then became scared and left the area. He said he ended up robbing the Circle K in Erie about 45 minutes later.MORE NEWS: Douglas County Schools To Bring Middle & High School Students Back After Spring Break
After the shooting, a blue alert was issued by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. That is an emergency alert meant “to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty” to Coloradans.