DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo — A 22-year-old felon was sentenced to 48 years in prison for shooting at deputies from the back seat of a stolen car, which resulted in a deadly officer-involved shooting in 2018, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
Peirce Langewisch was given the maximum prison time allowed under the plea agreement, the DA’s Office said.
On Nov. 27, 2018, Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies spotted a possible stolen vehicle that ran a red light about 3 a.m. on South Broadway. When they followed the car, it began weaving and accelerated, reaching speeds of 100 mph to 120 mph on C-470, the DA's Office said.
Near Park Meadows mall, Langewisch, the rear-seat passenger, fired a gun at deputies, who returned fire, the DA’s Office said. The car attempted to elude deputies by racing through residential neighborhoods – with shots coming out of the back window -- until it crashed on Dry Creek Road near Interstate 25.
As deputies tried to take the occupants into custody, the suspects did not obey commands and deputies shot at the car. The driver, Nicholas Ryan, 19, was killed in the shooting. The front seat passenger, Jason Sutton, 21, was injured.
Langewisch was not injured and was taken into custody.
The investigation revealed the three were in the stolen vehicle and stealing from mailboxes and cars before the deputy spotted them, the DA’s Office said. Ryan gave Langewisch the gun during the incident, and Langewisch admitted to detectives that he shot at the deputies as Ryan tried to elude them.
Langewisch pleaded guilty March 1 to two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer and one count of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, which resulted in his 48-year sentence.
“You don’t get to shoot at law enforcement officers and get a slap on the wrist,” District Attorney John Kellner said in a news release. “He was committing crimes, and when the deputies moved to intercept the car he was in, he escalated the situation and put passersby as well as deputies in danger. For that, he will be incarcerated for a lengthy time.”
Sutton pleaded guilty on Oct. 11, 2019, to one count of vehicular eluding and one count of first-degree trespassing of a vehicle. He was sentenced to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
The Sheriff’s Office monitored the case closely.
“The job of a law enforcement officer has become increasingly more dangerous, especially with individuals like this who blatantly, for no apparent reason, just shoot at the police. He needs to understand the ramifications of his actions,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said in a news release. “We welcome the sentence in this case and are extremely grateful to all those who worked so hard the last few years to bring the defendants to justice.”
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