The Douglas County Coroner’s Office has identified two people killed in Lone Tree late Tuesday night during a shootout with sheriff’s deputies.
David Strain, 31, and Clarissa Daws, 29, died during the 9-minute altercation with deputies inside the parking garage of RTD’s Lincoln light rail station. Both were from Pueblo.
Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies stumbled upon a black Kia sedan parked inside the garage while surveying the area for stolen vehicles. They suspected it was stolen because it had no license plates and the locks on its door handles had been removed.
The sheriff’s office said Strain and Daws were hiding inside the vehicle and refused commands to exit. Instead, the couple shot at deputies from inside the car. At least 35 rounds were exchanged between them and the deputies.
No officers or civilians were injured in the shootout. RTD’s parking garage was closed Wednesday morning.
The sheriff’s office on Thursday also released a 1 minute clip of body camera footage from the incident. The footage shows several volleys of gunfire between deputies and the suspects.
“It is quite obvious that the deputies gave the suspects every opportunity to follow commands, put their hands up, and get out of the car, to which instead they chose to start firing,” said Sheriff Tony Spurlock.
An investigation into the shootout remains active.
In a news conference Wednesday, Spurlock said his department has been dealing with a spike in auto theft reports this year. More than 400 stolen vehicle reports have been filed in the county so far in 2022.
“[Strain and Daws] were part of a string of auto thefts this year across the northern border of Douglas County,” Spurlock said. “This is something we are seeing more and more across the Denver metro area every day.”
In response, Spurlock said he was dedicating a special unit to recovering more stolen vehicles and arresting auto thieves.
“If you steal a car in Douglas County we’re going to chase you,” Spurlock said. “I’m asking every other judicial district to be more aggressive on this as well.”
The state recorded 22,395 thefts in 2019. That number nearly doubled in 2021 to 42,094.
The recent spike has prompted new discussions around what penalties people should face when convicted of stealing a car. Currently, stealing a vehicle worth $2,000 or less is considered a misdemeanor. Stealing more expensive cars can result in a felony.
You want to know what is really going on these days, especially in Colorado. We can help you keep up. The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!