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'Appalling and unfathomable': Man sentenced for highway shooting that left boy covered in metal fragments

The boy was left covered in metal fragments from the shooting.

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A man was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to a 2019 incident in which he fired shots into another vehicle, narrowly missing a young boy.

Theodore Hrdlicka pleaded guilty to the following charges on Sept. 8:

  •  Attempted murder
  • Sentence enhancer: violent crime-used weapon

The shooting happened Aug. 5, 2019, as the victim was traveling in a vehicle with his father and grandfather on U.S. 36 in Adams County. They were from out of state and were headed to Estes Park for a family camping trip, according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

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As they were driving, the family noticed another vehicle driving recklessly and traveling in their direction. They heard gunshots as the truck approached their vehicle.

Moments later, the driver, Courtney Hrdlicka, pulled up alongside their car while her husband, Theodore Hrdlicka, stuck his gun out of the passenger-side window and opened fire, according to the DA's office.

Several bullets struck the victim’s vehicle, including one that was inches away from striking the young boy. He was left covered in metal fragments from the shooting.

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The Hrdlickas continued on, and Theodore fired additional rounds from his weapon, according to prosecutors.

Two other vehicles were struck during the incident. The Hrdlickas fled the area and were later arrested at a home in unincorporated Adams County.

They are also believed to be connected to a series of similar crimes in Arapahoe County shortly before the Adams County incident.

Earlier this year, Courtney Hrdlicka pleaded guilty to accessory to a crime in Adams County and first-degree assault with a deadly weapon in Arapahoe County.

Credit: Adams Country Sheriff's Office
Theodore and Courtney Hrdlicka

She was sentenced to a total of 10 years in the Department of Corrections. Theodore Hrdlicka’s case in Arapahoe County is still pending.

“The actions of this defendant are appalling and unfathomable,” said District Attorney Brian Mason. “These innocent victims were going on a family camping trip when Mr. Hrdlicka inexplicably started shooting at a little boy, his father, and his grandfather. I’m grateful we were able to achieve justice in this case.”

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