Suspect in Federal Heights mobile home fires formally charged with attempted murder, other felonies

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 19:51:55-05

FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. – The man accused of planting homemade bombs inside his trailer, then lighting it and a neighbor’s home on fire, was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, arson and other counts.

Steven Richard Truetken, 56, faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder; one count of using explosives or an incendiary device; two counts of first-degree arson; one count of possession of explosives; two counts of menacing; one count of attempted aggravated cruelty to animals, and a sentencing enhancer for crime of violence. All counts are felonies.

Truetken is accused of building several bombs and putting them across his trailer, then lighting it on fire before breaking out the neighbor’s home’s windows, spraying gasoline inside and lighting it on fire as well.

According to the affidavit for his arrest, Truetken tried to spray gas onto one of the children who was inside the home at the time, but missed and instead sprayed the family’s dog.

After his arrest, he told police he wanted to commit “suicide by cop,” and that he had “significant medical issues” and was undergoing psychiatric care but had run out of medication.

“Steven went on to say that he could no longer take care of himself and decided to carry out his plan today,” the officer wrote in the affidavit.

The family was able to escape from their home without being harmed, and the teenage boy whom Truetken had allegedly tried to douse in gas snapped a photo of Truetken as he walked away to watch the flames.

Once police arrived to arrest him, the affidavit says that Truetken told officers he intended “to pull the BB gun on the officers so that they would shoot him, but he was afraid that they would accidentally hurt his dog so he decided to give up.”

Court records obtained by Denver7 show Truetken has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1982. Records show he has been charged with burglary, traffic violations including DUI, third-degree assault, carrying a concealed weapon, harassment, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, among others.

In 2012, he pleaded guilty to a felony menacing with a weapon charge.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 15 in Adams County Court. Truetken remains held on a $1 million bond pending the next hearing.