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Man hailed a hero for trying to stop suspect after deadly domestic violence shooting in Arapahoe County

David Ottersberg
Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-05 17:32:47-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man is being hailed a hero after he put his life on the line trying to stop a shooting suspect in Arapahoe County.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office was called out to the 5200 block of S. Geneva Way — southwest of Cherry Creek Reservoir in the Hills West at Cherry Creek neighborhood — around 8 a.m. on March 30 for reports of shots fired.

Deputies responded to the scene, where they found Tracy Lechner, 42, in the driveway. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I heard gunshots," said Fonda Paxton, who is still trying to process what happened. "Our neighborhood is so close-knit and so quiet. I kind of justified and thought, "It can't be. It just can't be what that was." We were all shocked. And it just seemed like we were talking about something so surreal that, that we couldn't even imagine we're living through."

Neighbors heard yelling and jumped into action to try to help, according to Paxton.

march 30 2023 domestic violence shooting in arapahoe county

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Affidavit: Witness tried to stop suspect from fleeing after fatal CO shooting

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David Ottersberg was heading to Paxton's house for some plumbing work when he witnessed the altercation.

"David was coming to my house that morning. And as he was proceeding down the street, it just all happened like right as he was driving by. And so he witnessed the whole thing," said Paxton. "He took it on himself to just really put his own life in jeopardy and he basically did a complete U-turn and went back into the conflict."

Ottersberg sprang into action and tried to stop the shooting suspect from getting away. He told Denver7 he first noticed something was wrong when he saw the suspect's face was covered.

"Something drew my eyes to the scene," said Ottersberg. "He had his head covered with cloth, his mouth covered with cloth. I saw them interacting. I saw the look on her face. I looked back and he had a gun in his hand. That's when he pulled the trigger. There's nothing she could have done. He was cold-blooded about it. He stared right at her— he didn’t turn away. He didn't try to flinch from it. He just did what he did and walked off."

Ottersberg crashed his van into the suspect's vehicle to try to stop him from getting away.

"We kinda looked at eachother for a second. But he reached over and grabbed his gun. and I went out the passenger door," he said. "As soon as I knew he was going for it, I knew my time was kind of limited and I escaped."

The suspect, 45-year-old David Lechner, drove away from the scene but didn't get far. He crashed at E. Orchard Road and S. Havana Street, about one mile from the shooting scene.

Lechner was taken into custody and transported to the hospital for superficial injuries, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

After he was cleared by medical staff, he was booked into the Arapahoe County Detention Facility for first-degree murder, menacing - aggravated assault with a gun and domestic violence. Lechner is being held without bond.

The neighborhood has since come together to try to help Ottersberg.

"Everyone just rallied around and wanted to help David because he's, he is obviously had loss of work. His truck had to be impounded, and all of his equipment was in there," said Paxton.'

A GoFundMe online fundraiser was created to help Ottersberg raise funds for his van impound feeds and tools.

While the neighborhood mourns the loss they've suffered, Paxton said it's heartwarming to see bravery in the midst of tragedy.

"We had no idea one of our neighbors was experiencing something like that. And I, it's just a horrible situation," she added.

An online fundraiser was also created to support Tracy Lechner's children at this time. Click here to donate.

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