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Fountain police officer remains in critical condition after falling 40 feet off bridge

Officer Julian Becerra was attempting to apprehend a carjacking suspect when he fell over the side of a bridge and landed in a river bed.
Fountain K9 Officer Julian Becerra
fountain officer falls off bridge 2-2-23 2-2-23
Posted at 6:30 PM, Feb 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-03 20:30:41-05

FOUNTAIN, Colo. — A Fountain police officer remains in critical condition after he fell 40 feet off a bridge while trying to apprehend a suspect Thursday evening.

Officer Julian Becerra has been with the Fountain Police Department for 4 1/2 years and is assigned to the patrol division as a K9 officer, Commander Mark Cristiani said during a press conference Friday.

Cristiani did not go into detail about Becerra's condition, but said he is resting at an area hospital, surrounded by family and fellow officers.

Fountain K9 Officer Julian Becerra

The incident began around 4 p.m. Thursday when Fountain PD's Directed Investigation Community Engagement (DICE) team was asked to help the Department of Corrections Parole Unit locate a Pueblo-area carjacking suspect who had several active felony warrants. The suspect was seen traveling in a stolen car on northbound Interstate 25 from Pueblo.

The vehicle drove into Colorado Springs near the Citadel Mall, and the Colorado Springs Police Department's Tactical Unit joined the response, Cristiani said.

Around 5:30 p.m., officers spotted the vehicle near the Lowes at North Academy and Platte Avenue. The driver was traveling recklessly, and officers were unable to maintain visual contact, according to Cristiani. Authorities believed the suspects were attempting to steal another car at Lowe's, but that was not confirmed, Cristiani said.

Officers lost sight of the vehicle, but found it around 7:15 p.m. heading southbound on I-25 towards Fountain. The vehicle was tracked to the area of Highway 85 and Alegre Circle, where officers discovered there were three occupants inside.

Authorities tried to stop the vehicle using tactical vehicle interventions (TVI) but were unsuccessful, Cristiani said.

Fountain police officer remains in critical condition after falling 40 feet off bridge

The vehicle traveled south on Highway 85 through Fountain, then entered I-25 heading south in the northbound lanes, according to Cristiani. The pursuit was terminated due to excessive speeds and safety concerns for the public, Cristiani said.

Officers stopped northbound I-25 traffic at mile marker 126, but learned the suspect vehicle had made a U-turn and was traveling north in the northbound lanes, according to the commander.

The vehicle pulled into the Love's Travel Plaza, located in the 5500 block of Travel Plaza Drive. Cristiani said the suspects tried to carjack someone at gunpoint in the parking lot, but were unsuccessful. It is believed the suspects saw officers and took off before completing the carjacking, according to Cristiani. Officers "reengaged" in the pursuit.

Around 7:45 p.m., officers were following the suspect vehicle northbound on I-25 when the vehicle exited at South Academy Boulevard. A tire deflation device partially disabled the vehicle, according to Cristiani, but the vehicle kept traveling eastbound on South Academy.

Fountain police officers performed a TVI on the vehicle on South Academy just east of Hartford Street. The driver jumped out of the vehicle and ran away, Cristiani said.

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As officers were attempting to apprehend the driver, Becerra fell over the bridge and landed 40 feet below in a river bed.

The driver then tried to jump over the bridge, but was grabbed by officers. According to Cristiani, as the driver was hanging over the bridge, he told officers, "Let me go. I want to die."

Officers pulled the driver up to safety and placed him into custody. He was later identified as Devon Bobian, 31, of Pueblo. The other two suspects were identified as Anthony Vallejos, 37, of Pueblo and Danisha Pacheco, 28, of Pueblo.

Bobian and Vallejos were arrested on active felony warrants, as well as felony charges related to the incident. Pacheco was arrested on felony charges related to this incident. Cristiani said he was told by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, who is leading the investigation into this incident, to not discuss the charges, but did say additional charges are expected.

At this point, it is unclear how Becerra fell off the bridge.

During the press conference, Cristiani highlighted the multiple law enforcement agencies and organizations who have offered their support. He also highlighted the medical personnel who helped Becerra Thursday night, saying it took them an hour to get the injured officer out of the river bed and into a medical helicopter.

The Southern Colorado Law Enforcement Foundation is collecting donations for Becerra and his family. To donate, follow this link. When completing the form, check the "Designated" box and enter "Julian Becerra" in the "Designated Officer Name" field.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has also been created to help the Becerra family. According to the description, Becerra is an Air Force veteran and has a wife, an 8-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.

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