Cops relieved no one was hurt in situation
For two area law enforcement officers, the hostage situation Wednesday on Lincoln Creek Road was the scariest moment of their careers.
“I literally felt like breaking down and crying,” Pitkin County Deputy Ryan Turner said. “It was such a relief to know these kids didn’t get hurt. I went up and gave all three a big hug afterward.”
Aspen Police Officer Braulio Jerez, who’s been an officer for about three years, said he’s never faced a situation like it.
“I was scared,” he said. “When he pointed at me and said, ‘Maybe I’ll take a shot at that guy,’ it was a scary situation for sure.”
By the time Turner, Jerez and two other deputies arrived at the scene about an eighth of a mile down Lincoln Creek Road, Brolin McConnell only had one hostage left. The other two had been able to run away safely.
Turner said that as soon as McConnell saw him, he ducked inside his pickup truck and held the gun on Blake Ramelb, 21, who was standing outside the truck. Turner remained behind a large rock about 300 feet away, he said.
“He was in a strategic place to protect himself,” Turner said.
He said he could see McConnell pointing two guns at Ramelb’s head. McConnell was “super-animated” and would at times scream unintelligibly at the top of his lungs, Turner and Jerez said.
Turner said he saw McConnell shoot at Ramelb’s feet at one point.
“When he ripped that shot between that kid’s legs, (Ramelb) let out the most fearful noise a human could make,” Turner said. “It was just like terror — that was what was coming out of him.
“And to hear that and not be able to help was an awful, awful feeling. There was no doubt in my mind that there was going to be a bad ending for him.”
At one point, McConnell screamed, “You killed my parents,” Jerez said. He also asked for $100 million and wanted the promise in writing, he said. Jerez also said he heard McConnell repeatedly threaten to kill Ramelb.
However, once Ramelb was able to run away, Turner said he ran into the middle of Lincoln Creek Road and began yelling at McConnell to get on the ground. McConnell obeyed, putting his guns down and lying face down on the dirt, he said.
“When he realized the kid got away, he immediately gave up,” Turner said. “Had he pursued Blake, we would have had to shoot him.”
Jerez also said McConnell surrendered peacefully.
“He just gave up, pretty much,” he said.
Court documents indicate that investigators received a search warrant to get a sample of McConnell’s blood because they thought he might he might be high on methamphetamine. However, results of that test might not be available for weeks, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said.
“I don’t know if it’s drugs or mental health or a combo of the two,” Turner said. “But it certainly wasn’t normal.”
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As of Sunday, everyone in the 970 area code has to dial all 10 digits in a phone number. The change in Colorado is part of a national switch that will enable the national rollout of 988, which will be the National Suicide Hotline. That number will take callers to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which will go live July 16, 2022.