Updated at 9:28 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.
Boulder police have arrested a man suspected of driving his truck multiple times through Central Park Tuesday morning in an attempt to run over people, authorities said.
"I don't know how we escaped this morning's event without significant injuries and death to the people in this park this morning," said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold during a press conference Thursday afternoon. "If people would've been sleeping in their sleeping bags this morning there would've been mass casualties."
Police said the driver narrowly missed hitting multiple people, including unhoused individuals, who ran to get away.
The suspect was identified as Bruce A. Alvey, 44. Police say he was living out of his truck and did not have a permanent address. Officials said he has prior police records in Boulder, including a charge of "felony menacing" in 2021.
The motorist ran over sleeping bags and other belongings, Herold said. It's unclear if the suspect has close contact with the people at the park.
Police received multiple calls about a truck in the park trying to run people over at about 6:30 a.m., Boulder Deputy Chief Stephen Redfearn said at the press conference. The motorist left before police arrived at the scene but officers set up perimeters and used drones to search for the vehicle. The vehicle was found a short time later in a parking lot less than a mile away.
"The vehicle had sustained significant damage which is consistent with the vehicle hitting some of the objects in the park," Redfearn said.
Central Park, located at 1236 Canyon Blvd., will be closed for about two weeks using an emergency order due to possible structural damage to pillars and concrete poles in the park, among other types of damage.
"The suspect drove in and out of the park several times and struck multiple pieces of property, enough to require the city to close the park with fencing for repairs," officials stated.
Officers eventually found the owner of the vehicle during an on-foot search. The suspect was taken to the police department to answer questions and police later charged him with four counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Between the time of the incident and the suspect's contact with police, authorities found out he had broken into an animal hospital a block away from the park and injured himself in that process. Police are also exploring charges for that burglary and for driving under the influence of narcotics, specifically methamphetamine, Redfearn said. Other charges are being considered.
Outreach workers have been at Central Park all day in an attempt to provide outreach services to those at the park.
Authorities are asking witnesses to contact the BPD with any information at 303-441-3333.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the suspect has been charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder.
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