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Witness crashed into shooting suspect in effort to keep him from fleeing

David Lechner, 45, was treated for stab wounds he suffered during an altercation with the victim before he was booked into jail.

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A witness to a fatal shooting in Arapahoe County Thursday morning told investigators he crashed his van into the suspect's vehicle in an effort to prevent him from fleeing the area, an arrest affidavit from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) says.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday numerous people called 911 to report "shots fired" in the 5200 block of South Geneva Way, that's in the area of East Belleview Avenue and South Dayton Street, south of Cherry Creek Reservoir.

One person said that a woman was shot and was dead and that the suspect was leaving the area in a white Hyundai SUV.

The sheriff's office confirmed that a 42-year-old woman was killed. On Monday, the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office identified her as Tracy Lee Lechner.

A man who was in the area for business said he heard a commotion and looked to where the noise was coming from, the affidavit says. He reported that he saw the suspect, later identified as David Samuel Lechner, 45, standing over a woman who was on the ground. The witness reported that Lechner shot the woman at point blank range and ran to his vehicle.

The witness said he attempted to stop Lechner by crashing his van into his SUV, but said Lechner was ultimately able to leave.

Credit: KUSA

Lechner was later located about a mile away near East Orchard Road and South Havana Street, where deputies took him into custody. While being arrested Lechner informed deputies that he was armed with a weapon and a gun was found in a bag in the passenger seat, the affidavit says.

Lechner had several stab wounds he sustained during an attack on the victim and was taken to the hospital for evaluation and later booked into jail once medically cleared, the sheriff's office said.

Lechner is being held on suspicion of:

  • First-degree murder - felony 
  • Menacing/aggravated assault with a gun - felony
  • Domestic violence - misdemeanor

While being arrested, Lechner "spontaneously uttered" that he was "only trying to protect his kids." 

He is being held without bond.

The exact relationship between Lechner and victim wasn't released, but a sheriff's office spokeswoman said the shooting was believed to be related to domestic violence.

Credit: KUSA

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or visit metrodenvercrimestoppers.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000. 

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers works by assigning a code to people who anonymously submit a tip. Information is shared with law enforcement, and Crime Stoppers is notified at the conclusion of the investigation. 

From there, an awards committee reviews the information provided and, if the information leads to an arrest, the tipster will be notified. Rewards can be collected using the code numbers received when the tip was originally submitted. 

> More information about Metro Denver Crime Stoppers can be found here. 

> Additional Crime Stoppers bulletins can be found here. 

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