Suspect arrested after leading officers on chase in stolen police car

Police say they found the scene to be suspicious. The homicide unit was called out and took over the scene. 
Police say they found the scene to be suspicious. The homicide unit was called out and took over the scene. 

MONTE VISTA, Colo. — A bank robbery suspect was arrested Wednesday morning after leading officers on a lengthy chase in multiple vehicles, including a police cruiser.

Police said the incident began around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. That’s when a Del Norte police officer received a tip that Joseph Gutierrez, the suspect in a Monday bank robbery in Center, was at the Movie Manor Motel near Monte Vista. Monte Vista is about 20 miles northwest of Alamosa in southern Colorado.

The Del Norte officer shared the tip with the Monte Vista Police Department, the Rio Grande Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado State Patrol. Law enforcement from these agencies set up a perimeter around the motel. Then, around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Gutierrez ran from his room, pointing a handgun at the officers on the scene.

Deputies said Gutierrez pointed his handgun behind him at pursuing officers as he ran to a parked Monte Vista police car. He got into the car and left the scene. As the vehicle was leaving, a Monte Vista police officer shot at the vehicle’s tires twice, and a Colorado State Patrol trooper shot at Gutierrez three times, according to deputies.

Gutierrez then led officers on a chase, crossing Highway 160 onto County Road 27 northbound. Deputies said he lost control on a turn, hit an embankment, regained control, continued north, and then turned west onto Swede Lane. At the 5 west and Swede Lane, the suspect lost control again, going off the roadway as he attempted to head north on the 5 west. He regained control again, went north, and drove off the roadway again as he attempted to head west on the 5 north.

Then, a few minutes later, Rio Grande sheriff’s deputies saw Gutierrez trying to steal another vehicle in the Plaza area. He got into the vehicle and promptly wrecked it into a fencepole and large rock. Deputies said he then attempted to steal another vehicle in the same yard, but there were no keys in that vehicle.

The suspect then ran away. Officers found him hiding in a nearby wood pile. Officers tried to approach him, but he ran again. A Monte Vista police officer used his taser, and Gutierrez was arrested without further incident.

Gutierrez is charged with felony menacing, motor vehicle theft, trespassing, reckless driving, and other charges.

Deputies said when Gutierrez was arrested, he had more than $6,000 in cash on him. Deputies also found a handgun in the driver’s area of the patrol car Gutierrez had stolen at the motel.

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