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Man accused of randomly shooting at oil workers arrested at Denver hotel

Tyler James Van Auken, 31, is accused of firing four to five shots at workers at a well pad in southern Weld County.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — A Brighton man suspected of firing randomly at oil field workers at a well pad in southern Weld County was arrested Thursday night in Denver, the Weld County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) said. 

Tyler James Van Auken, 31, was booked into the county jail on suspicion of menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, both felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of driving after revocation, prohibited use of weapons and reckless endangerment.

Deputies at 2:15 p.m. Monday responded to a report of shots fired at an oil field site near Weld County roads 6 and 29 north of Brighton, the sheriff's office said. 

WSCO said employees reported they were working at the well pad when a white SUV drove past and fired four or five shots. No one was hurt.

Credit: Weld County Sheriff’s Office
The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help identifying a man suspected of randomly firing on workers at an oil and gas site.

The sheriff's office said the vehicle was later identified as a white Chevy Trailblazer (pictured above) with a Denver Broncos sticker on the left side of the tailgate and Colorado license plate UQY-913. 

Investigators identified and interviewed the registered owner, who said Van Auken was driving her vehicle while intoxicated and decided it would be fun to fire his handgun out the window.

They also distributed the photo below of the suspect that was taken by worker who ran after the man.

The crew foreman chased the SUV and caught up with it when Van Auken pulled over to urinate, according to WCSO. The foreman snapped two pictures on his cellphone before the suspect sped off.

Credit: Weld County Sheriff’s Office
The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help identifying a man suspected of randomly firing on workers at an oil and gas site.

Detectives with the sheriff’s office’s Investigative Unit spoke with Van Auken earlier this week by phone, but he refused to turn himself in or provide deputies with his location.

The WCSO Strike Team tracked Van Auken to a hotel near Denver International Airport. Denver police officers and the Denver Police Department SWAT Team assisted deputies with the arrest.

Anyone with information about the suspect or shooting is asked to call Det. Anthony Simmons at 970-400-5376 or Investigations Sgt. Aaron Walker at 970-400-2856. Reference case number 20W014722. 

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Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at 970-356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward. 

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