Arapahoe deputy saved by vest, suspects caught

PoliceOne Staff Report
(DENVER) -- When Arapahoe County Deputy Travis Stewart was shot in the chest by a .357 Magnum last Friday, thanks to a Kevlar vest, he just got mad.

"I was really mad," Stewart told the Denver Post. "When somebody's shooting at you, they're trying to kill you. All I knew was that I was going to keep going.

"If somebody's going to try to kill me, they're going to pay," he said. "If I get shot, it's not going to do me any good to sit in a cul-de-sac and cry about it."

Thanks to the Kevlar vest that Stewart was wearing he was not only able to recuperate almost instantly after he was shot, he chased down and caught the suspects.

Sheriff Patrick Sullivan told PoliceOne.com that Stewart would receive a Purple Heart and possibly the Medal of Valor for conduct during the chase.

At about 6 p.m. police responded to a call of two men holding up a Safeway store at 11001 S. Parker Road, according to police reports. Deputy Mitch Fryman spotted two men fleeing in a silver Chevy Corsica and gave chase. At one point the pursuit lead deputies down a cul-de-sac where the suspects made a sharp U-turn, driving up on a lawn and through a fence to avoid police, authorities said.

As they drove past the deputies in pursuit, one of the suspects, identified by police as Jesse James Miller, opened fire with a .357 Magnum with an 8-inch barrel.

"I took my bearings," Stewart told the Post, "made sure all my arms and limbs were attached, and then I kept going."

Another deputy, Todd Fechner, rammed the back of the suspects' vehicle several times during the chase, attempting to force the car off the road. Eventually the car's right front tire blew out and Miller lost control and crash into a traffic light in front of Grand View High School.

Deputies were able to arrest Miller and a 16-year-old passenger, whose name has not been released, without firing a single round.

Miller was taken to Araphoe County Detention Facility where he is being held on charges of criminal attempt murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 48 years and first-degree assault for which he could face a maximum 24 years.

The 16-year-old was taken to Marvin W. Foote Juvenile Detention Center where he is being held on the same charges. Both suspects could face additional charges according to police.

Stewart was taken to Centennial Medical Plaza where he was treated for a slight wound in the chest where the bullet struck his vest.

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