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Man accused of kidnapping 2 runners at gunpoint near Bear Creek Lake Park sentenced to prison

Two people rescued from armed suspect near Bear Creek Lake Park, says JeffCo Sheriff's Office
Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 19:48:00-05

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A defendant accused of kidnapping a husband and wife at gunpoint near Bear Creek Lake Park in June 2022 has been sentenced to several decades behind bars.

Kerry Endsley pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder, attempting to disarm a police officer, and crime of violence (sentence enhancer) on Jan. 22. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday, according to the First Judicial District Attorney's Office. He was also resentenced in connection with a 2021 domestic violence-related harassment charge.

The case began on the morning of June 17, 2022, when a husband and wife went on an early morning run around Fehringer Ranch Park, an open space southeast of Bear Creek Lake Park.

While running, they approached a man — later identified as Endsley, who was 73 at the time — dressed in all blue and kneeling. As they passed him, he pointed a firearm at them and yelled that he was going to kill them, the district attorney's office said. He was wearing a fake mustache and a FedEx hat and sunglasses.

Endsley forced them onto their knees and put a dog leash around the woman's neck, the district attorney's office said. At gunpoint, he directed them to walk to the middle of a nearby field. He told the victims that they would die that day.

The woman would later tell investigators that she recognized the man's watch, and that was how she realized who he was. The sheriff's office said the day of the incident that Endsley had a history of harassing the woman, and they had the incident reports and restraining orders to prove it.

The woman was able to distract Endsley and her husband grabbed the firearm. The couple then ran in opposite directions while Endsley yelled threats, the district attorney's office said.

While this was happening, a nearby runner who witnessed the crime had called 911 and narrated to a dispatcher in real-time what they saw.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the park and confronted Endsley, who charged at the first deputy to arrive at the scene. Endsley pulled something, later identified as a stun gun, from his pocket. The deputy fired his gun but did not hit Endsley, the district attorney's office said. As Endsley continued to approach the deputy, another deputy arrived and used a Taser on the suspect, who was taken into custody.

Two hikers rescued from armed suspect near Bear Creek Lake Park, says JeffCo Sheriff's Office

Deputies learned he was also in possession of pepper spray and a key fob to his vehicle. They searched the car, where they found a slew of other items, including a "mattress, blankets, tarps, multiple restraints, power tools and drills, leashes, collars, rope, knives, ammunition, another stun gun, duct tape, handcuff keys, a FedEx hat, a FedEx sweatshirt, a hatchet, and an extra loaded magazine," the district attorney's office said.

Endsley was transported to a hospital after he claimed he was having a heart attack. At the hospital, he pretended to struggle to move his legs and when a deputy went to help, Endsley lunged at him, reached for the deputy's gun and then punched him in the forehead, the district attorney's office said.

On Jan. 22, Endsley pleaded guilty to the charges against him. The prosecution and defense agreed to a prison sentence of 35 years with no credit for time served.

On Wednesday, nearly two years after the attack, the victims described to the court how Endsley's actions impacted their lives. Through a letter read in court, the woman explained her constant fear and anxiety, and how the events of that day forced her to relocate her family to another state to start anew.

"I hope that I can be a strong voice to create more awareness and hope for others while they face their fears and navigate through their recovery and trauma experiences," her letter read.

She also thanked the runner who witnessed the encounter and called 911, adding that she believed that person saved their lives.

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