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Affidavit: Chlorine bomb thrown after crime spree caused responding Arvada officer to pass out

Five suspects were taken into custody following the incident thanks to a crumpled-up Walmart receipt found near the crime scene, according to an arrest affidavit.

GOLDEN, Colo. — Investigators first encountered four of the five suspects taken into custody after a chlorine bomb caused an Arvada officer to pass out while they were setting up a perimeter around the crime scene, according to an arrest affidavit released Thursday afternoon.

The officer was injured just after midnight on Saturday while he was responding to a report of street signs that had been thrown into the middle of the road near West 68th Avenue and Beech Street. 

According to the affidavit, someone had strung saran wrap around those signs and created what was essentially a barricade that had been reported by a passerby, who called police and later met with the officer.

When the officer arrived, the affidavit said he found a small plastic bottle lying on the ground near the signs that had apparently been thrown into the road a little earlier. 

Shortly thereafter, he said he heard someone yell a profanity and run through a nearby yard. Out of the corner of his eye, the officer told investigators he saw a plastic bottle being thrown in his direction.

“The bottle started shrieking and releasing ‘a ton’ of white colored smoke,” the affidavit says.

RELATED: 4 young adults, 1 juvenile arrested after chemical device injures officer

The officer said he could smell chlorine – something the affidavit says was corroborated by the person who first called police. The affidavit says reinforcements began to show up, and during the ensuing investigation, the first officer on the scene lost consciousness and fell. 

The next thing he remembers, according to the affidavit, was waking up to fellow officers trying to provide medical assistance.

He was later taken to the hospital and diagnosed with chlorine gas exposure, the affidavit says. Additional water bottle bombs were also found in the area.

While this was happening, deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office began setting up a perimeter around the crime scene. That’s when one of them encountered four teenagers in a silver Volkswagen near West 68th Avenue and DeFrame Street, the affidavit says. While they were initially allowed to leave after claiming they were going to a house belonging to one of their moms, investigators nevertheless took photos of their driver’s licenses.

It wasn’t until later in the day that detectives were able to crack the case.

According to the affidavit, two Arvada detectives found a Walmart receipt in the field where the officer had seen a possible suspect. That crumpled-up piece of paper led investigators to a surveillance video that, according to the affidavit, clearly showed the suspects buying bottled water, a chlorine treatment for swimming pools, brake fluid and plastic wrap.

The suspects were seen leaving in a silver Volkswagen, and four of the five teens now in custody were inside the vehicle that was pulled over shortly after the crime, according to the affidavit.

The first suspect contacted by police was 19-year-old Gavin Dawson, who the affidavit says initially lied but later admitted went to Walmart with friends and purchased items to make “some bombs.”

RELATED: Multiple arrests made after Arvada officer injured by chemical device

“Gavin said after they brought these items, they were just ‘dickin’ around with them’ and he would set off smoke bombs in ‘random places,’” the affidavit says.

A second suspect, identified as 19-year-old Isaac Koch, told police that they purchased items to “go taping” and make chlorine smoke bombs. He claimed he also did not throw the chlorine bomb at the officer.

The next suspects taken into custody were 18-year-old Maxwell McCann and a teen who 9NEWS is not identifying because he is under 18. According to the affidavit, McCann admitted to throwing the bomb that landed near the officer, and “said from his reading on the internet he felt the gas from the bombs was not toxic or harmful,” the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, the juvenile taken into custody admitted to yelling profanities at the officer.

Another suspect, identified as 19-year-old Braiden Ulmer, was found by police at the home where the mother of his child lives. The affidavit says he too admitted to going to Walmart to buy materials to make the gas bombs.

The five suspects have been officially charged with five felonies:

  • Possession of a chemical, biological or radiological weapon.
  • Conspiracy to commit possession of a chemical, biological or radiological weapon.
  • Assault in the second degree.
  • Criminal attempt to commit assault in the second degree.
  • Menacing.

The four adult suspects each posted bond and appeared in court for their first hearing Friday.  

Preliminary hearings for the adults have been scheduled for May 10.

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