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Sheriff - News

Posted on: April 8, 2022

Update: Pursuit/Shots Fired Suspect in Custody

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One suspect is in custody, charged with attempted murder after firing shots at a victim and several deputies during a pursuit yesterday. Kaelen Alberto Bernal (DOB 6/11/97) is being held at the Jefferson County Detention Center for the following charges:

  • Criminal Attempt - 1st Degree Murder (Deliberation) 
  • Criminal Attempt 1st Degree Murder (Extreme Indifference)
  • Criminal Attempt 1st Degree Murder (Peace Officer)
  • 1st Degree Assault (Peace Officer)
  • 1st Degree Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Vehicular Eluding
  • Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Resisting Arrest

This situation unfolded at about 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, when the registered owner of a stolen vehicle reported being shot at by suspects in the stolen vehicle near Tiny Town. The stolen vehicle, a flatbed pickup truck towing a trailer, was stolen earlier in the day from a commercial business located in the 19000 block of Goddard Ranch Ct. The registered owner spotted the vehicle traveling northbound on Highway 285 near Surrey Drive. He followed the vehicle to the area of Tiny Town, where Bernal exited the vehicle and fired multiple shots at the registered owner before driving away toward Highway 285. Shortly thereafter, a JCSO deputy engaged in gunfire with Bernal.

Deputies began pursuing the vehicle northbound on Highway 285, where two deputies were staged near Highway 8 to deploy stop sticks. As the suspect vehicle approached, Bernal drove off the right shoulder of the road, partially avoiding the full impact of the stop sticks. Bernal fired shots at the two deputies and they returned fire. The suspect vehicle lost its trailer at that time and continued driving onto Turkey Creek Rd., then Quincy Ave., through the Friendly Hills neighborhood, and eventually driving into Weaver Hollow Park. Driving with blown tires and only rims, Bernal continued around the ballfield backstop and through the park, putting innocent bystanders at risk. Because Bernal was armed, having already fired multiple times during the pursuit, and drove erratically in the park, deputies continued their pursuit. 

A short distance later, a deputy impacted the rear of the suspect vehicle, causing it to crash and become inoperable. The two occupants of the suspect vehicle fled on foot in opposite directions. Both occupants were taken into custody within one block of the crash site. A handgun was located in the cab of the stolen vehicle.

Bernal was transported to an area hospital for evaluation of minor injuries from the collision. The second occupant of the vehicle was interviewed at the Sheriff’s Office and released with no charges at this time.  No one involved in this incident was injured by gunfire. This is an ongoing criminal investigation.

The First Judicial District Attorney’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) - a multi-law enforcement agency investigative team – is conducting the officer involved shooting investigation.

Investigators are requesting anyone with information related to this incident please call the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 303-271-5612. JCSO is hoping to speak with any potential witnesses who were present at Weaver Hollow Park.   

Mug shot of suspect, Kaelen Bernal

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