Local law enforcement authorities are still investigating an attempted shooting of Teller sheriff deputies last week, following a vehicle chase in the Cripple Creek and Four Mile area.
Two suspects, one of whom reportedly had strong ties in Cripple Creek, were apprehended, after their attempt to elude several law agencies failed on Wednesday afternoon following an alleged crime spree. No one was injured during the vehicle chase of the suspects, which began in Cripple Creek and ended on Teller 11, several miles from the Evergreen Station. One of the suspects also fired gun shots at Teller officers on two occasions.
Eventually, the suspects, surrendered without incident, when the stolen car they were driving in, incurred flat tires due to devices placed on the highway by a Teller deputy.
The two, Austen Adams 26, and Lynn Kennedy Tarasi, 18, face a rash of charges including two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, aggravated motor theft and vehicle eluding. In addition, Adams had five previous outstanding warrants, two of which are felonies. Plus, according to recent reports, Adams had quite a violent past in Missouri and recently in Colorado.
Authorities aren’t releasing too many details, but are expressing much relief over the outcome of the incident that became the talk of southern Teller for much of last week. Many reports circulated of recent sightings of the suspects and allegations of possible related crimes in the area. But officials are refusing to comment about these reports.
“I feel very glad that no one was hurt, including our officers and the suspects,” said Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger, in commenting on the pursuit and apprehension of the suspects last week. “This incident was handled very professionally.”
He said officers from his agency have come under fire before during investigations. “We (law officers across the country) get shot at every day,” he added. But source say this is the first vehicle pursuit/chase, resulting in gun shots taken at local law officers in recent memory.
The sheriff also lauded the cooperation from a variety of agencies, including the Cripple Creek Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol. “We had excellent support. This really turned out well.”
Teller County Sheriff Commander Mark Morlock went even further and attributes the success of this case to the superb training undertaken by their officers. “I believe it speaks volumes as to the training our deputies receive, and that they receive the proper training to handle situations like this,” said Morlock, in an interview with the KRDO television station. He especially praised the restraint exhibited by Teller law officers, who didn’t fire any shots at the suspects
According to Ensminger, only one officer from his agency was initially involved in the incident. But more Teller investigators arrived on the scene as the pursuit continued.
“The officer that was involved in deploying the stop sticks was obviously shaken up quite a bit. He ended up getting back in his car and assisting with the pursuit after deploying stop sticks and assisted in arresting the suspects, explained Morlock, according to a KRDO report.
Crime Spree Lands in Teller
The two suspects had allegedly committed a variety of crimes in various states, capped by stealing a vehicle in Missouri. They were detected by officers of the Cripple Creek Police Department on Teller One, in a stolen vehicle around 1 p.m. on Dec. 21. The officers tried to pull over the suspects, who refused to stop. A chase then ensued down Teller One.
A Teller deputy used special stop sticks to attempt to halt the vehicle at milepost 8, just south of Evergreen Station, according to a new release. Adams, the driver of the vehicle, then shot at the deputy several times with a semiautomatic handgun as he passed by the officer, while traveling north on Teller One.
The suspects then continued to try to flee on Teller 11 towards Guffey. Adams fired again at pursuing law officers, but no one was hit. Their car then came to an abrupt halt, several miles from the intersection of Teller One and Eleven, as their vehicle incurred three flat tires. The two then surrendered without incident. Sections of both roads were shut down for several hours on Wednesday during the time of the chase.
The two suspects are currently being held in the Teller County Jail.
According to recent reports, Adams has quite an active criminal past. He moved to Canon City from Missouri last spring where he had convictions for first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon and third-degree assault, according to court records. Adams also was charged with violating his probation due to the discovery of weapons in the apartment he shared with Tarasi, his girlfriend, and he was suspected of assault during a dispute in Colorado with another man.
Tarasi, meanwhile, has had strong ties in Cripple Creek and lived in the area for a lengthy period. According to one source, she may have even received a local scholarship, or been in the running for the award.
The two were reportedly seen in the Cripple Creek area, prior to traveling to Missouri. In Missouri, the two reportedly stole a vehicle loaded with Christmas presents. Officials also discovered a stolen gun in their possession at the time of their arrest.
No court date has been set yet for the two suspects.