KUSA - Driving around, pointing a gun and shooting it at random people. That's how investigators say a 29-year-old man spent his Monday afternoon. Now El Paso and Douglas County Sheriffs’ offices are trying to figure out why.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s office told 9NEWS that at 12:20 p.m. Monday, deputies were dispatched to a report of a motor vehicle theft in progress at 9000 block of Rampart Range Road.
According to the victim, a man tried to flag her down. She noticed a firearm and sped away, according to Natalie Sosa, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Sosa said the armed man was standing near a blue Mazda station wagon with a blown-out tire.
Information released by Douglas County after the shooting said the suspect was in a stolen vehicle. Investigators were later able to confirm the car was not stolen. The suspect had permission to drive it.
According to Sosa, once the attempt to stop a driver failed, the suspect got back into his car and drove north on Rampart Range Road, shooting at one victim and pulling the trigger at another one, but the gun didn’t go off that time.
As the suspect was driving and shooting, Sosa said law enforcement in other jurisdictions was notified, including Douglas County, where the suspect ended up.
While the suspect was driving down Rampart Range Road and into Pike National Forest, about half a dozen Douglas County deputies were heading his way, said Steve Johnson, Chief Deputy at the Douglas County Sheriff’s office.
“We then began to get phone calls that this same individual was actively shooting at individuals,” Johnson said. “That certainly heightened our awareness it became a full-on investigation for us.”
Johnson said the suspect randomly shot at four people at a campsite, not injuring anyone, and went to another campsite, where he got into a gunfight with a camper who was armed.
“He was able to buy enough time from the suspect, get a long rifle, come out and address that person,” Johnson said.
The suspect was injured and taken to a local hospital. He’s expected to survive. The camper was not hurt, Johnson said.
Investigators said the two men didn’t appear to know each other.
Johnson said investigators have recovered a rifle and a handgun. They don’t yet know if the weapons belong to the suspect or if they were purchased legally.
The 29-year-old has not been arrested or charged. His identity has not been released.
Johnson and Sosa both said each county is expected to charge him after he is released from the hospital.
“You go to these places looking for some peace,” Johnson said. “You go to these places looking for a little bit of tranquility. Obviously yesterday none of that happened. It really shows no place is immune, no person is immune. Unfortunately, it's the sad state of affairs that we're in. There's no place left as a sanctuary and that's really what this showed yesterday.”