11/20/2007

Colo. officer shot, continues chase

By Alan Gathright
Rocky Mountain News

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — A Commerce City police officer was shot in the leg during a wild car chase last night, but kept pursuing three suspects fleeing until they crashed their sedan into a utility pole.

The wounded officer, described as a 10-year veteran, was treated at a hospital and released.

The shooting suspect, Shane Hotton, 30, and two other suspects in the car, Zacherary Mathias, 23, and Megan Bailey, 22, were taken to the hospital for injuries suffered in the car crash. Their conditions were not known.

All three suspects are being held on attempted first-degree murder on a peace officer, police Lt. Chuck Saunier said today. Other charges are pending.

Hotton had an outstanding arrest warrant for being an escaped parolee, Saunier said.

The pursuit began at 11:41 p.m. when officers responded to reports of shots fired in the 6500 block of Olive Street. Witnesses later told police that Hotton was upset and was firing shots in the air.

Hotton, however, had left in a red sedan with the other two suspects before officers arrived, police said.

The officer caught up with the sedan at East 66th Avenue and Monaco Street.

But when the officer attempted to stop their car, someone in the vehicle fired shots at him, striking the officer in the leg as he sat in his patrol car, police said.

"We know that shots were coming from the vehicle. We're stilling putting together who was shooting," Saunier said.

The wounded officer and other officers continued chasing the sedan to 58th and Monaco, where another officer fired at the fleeing vehicle. The red sedan lost control and crashed into a pole at Monaco and East 56th Avenue.

None of the suspects was injured by police gunfire, according to a police statement.

The shooting investigation is ongoing and police expect the intersection of Monaco and East 56th Avenue to remain closed throughout the morning rush hour.

Copyright 2007 The Rocky Mountain News

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