GOLDEN, Colo. — The Colorado School of Mines in Golden was closed after police apprehended a suspect who allegedly shot and killed a K-9 early Monday.
The suspect, identified as Eduardo Armando Romero, 29, was booked into the Jefferson County Detention Facility on several charges including one felony count of aggravated animal cruelty.
The incident started overnight, around 12:15 a.m.
According to the Golden Police Department, officers helped the Colorado School of Mines' police officers after they had contacted a driver near 19th Street and Elm Street. Romero, who was slumped over the steering wheel, was unresponsive, Golden police said.
Romero then woke up and started slowly driving while swerving into oncoming traffic before a Mines officer and Golden officer were able to stop him on 19th Street at Tangent Way, said Colorado School of Mines Police Chief Dustin Olson.
The suspect then slumped over again.
Olson said when Romero woke up a second time, he refused to exit the car or listen to police commands.
He allegedly began ramming patrol cars trying to escape, Golden police said. The officers were able to break the driver's side window and put the vehicle in park. However, while trying to get Romero out of the car, he was able to break free and ran eastbound on 19th Street toward the campus.
As police pursued the suspect, he allegedly pointed a handgun at an officer, police said. He ran into a wooded area and disappeared from view.
Police established a perimeter and, around 1 a.m., the school sent out an alert telling anybody on campus to shelter in place.
Officers focused their investigation on Elm Street and W. Campus Road and the fraternity and sorority houses. By 1:12 a.m., more officers, including Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) K-9 units, were at the scene.
A K-9 located the suspect in the wooded area near W. 6th Avenue and 19th Street and, under its handler's command, moved to apprehend Romero. The K-9 ran in front of the deputies, who followed behind him. They heard gunshots and saw that the K-9 had been struck. It died at the scene. A JCSO deputy returned fire, said Golden Sgt. Ben Salentine, which did not hit Romero.
The exact details on that exchange were not yet available, Salentine said.
The K-9 was identified as K-9 Graffit.
Jefferson County Sheriff Reggie Marinelli said the K-9 had worked with the JCSO since 2015 in narcotics and patrol services, including apprehension. Marinelli said his handler is doing well, but it is an emotional situation.
At 4:46 p.m., the campus sent an alert saying it would stay closed until further notice due to the police activity. Employees and students should not come to campus, the alert read. Anybody already on campus was asked to continue to shelter in place.
At 4:54 a.m., Romero came out of hiding and surrendered to police. According to the police department, he had an empty holster, but a firearm was found nearby. He was taken to a hospital and released. He is now in police custody.
At 5:54 a.m., the campus said the shelter-in-place order was lifted. This came about five hours after the alert was sent out. The campus remained closed for several hours. People in the area should expect a heavy police presence in the area.
The campus reopened at noon.
A procession began for K-9 Graffit around 9 a.m. Monday. The route went from 6th Avenue west to 58th east to I-70 east to I-76 east to I-25 north. It ended at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. You can watch it in full below.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has set up a memorial for K9 Graffit at the Memorial Garden at the intersection of Jefferson County Parkway and Weimer Street. The memorial vehicle will be parked at the memorial garden for a week and the public is welcome to visit, the sheriff's office said.
In addition to felony animal cruelty, Romero is facing additional charges including felony menacing, prohibited use of a weapon, criminal impersonation, motor vehicle theft, resisting arrest, eluding and driving under the influence.