Man accused of firing shots at oil and gas site captured near Denver airport

oil and gas shooting Van Auken
Posted at 12:04 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 14:07:43-04

DENVER — A man accused of firing shots at an oil and gas site in Weld County earlier this week was captured at a hotel near Denver International Airport on Thursday night, authorities said.

Tyler James Van Auken, 31, faces charges of menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, according to the Weld County Sheriff's Office. He was scheduled to appeared in Weld County District Court on Friday afternoon.

Authorities said the shooting happened about 2:15 p.m. Monday. Deputies had responded to a report of shots fired at an oil and gas site near the intersection of Weld County roads 6 and 29, north of Brighton. Witnesses told deputies they were working at the well pad when a white SUV drove by the site and someone fired four or five shots.

A crew foreman chased the SUV and caught up with it when the driver stopped to urinate, officials said. The foreman took two pictures of the driver — later identified as Van Auken — before the drive sped away.

The owner of the SUV was contacted by investigators and said Van Auken was intoxicated and driving her vehicle when he decided to randomly fire shots out the window, the sheriff's office said. Investigators said they talked to Van Auken on the phone but he wouldn't cooperate or give them his location.

The sheriff's office Strike Team tracked Van Auken to the hotel near the airport and Denver police and SWAT officers helped arrest him.