Juvenile arrested after wielding gun in El Jebel
EL JEBEL – A 17-year-old male was arrested in El Jebel’s Blue Lake subdivision Tuesday morning after he allegedly threatened to “start shooting” with a handgun, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly said.
The boy, whose identity wasn’t released because he is a juvenile, allegedly became agitated when a private transportation company arrived at his parent’s house at 8 a.m. to take him to a school in Utah, Cordingly said. The suspect allegedly had a knife in addition to the handgun. He threatened violence if the transportation company didn’t leave.
The boy fled on foot from his parents’ house on Goose Lane after authorities were called, the police report said. Law enforcement officials from three agencies “flooded” the subdivision looking for the suspect, Cordingly said. A single deputy was on duty at the time for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, so backup was called from the Basalt Police Department and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. The agencies typically provide mutual aid for one another. Members of the Basalt Fire Department also assisted in the search.
The officers immediately started canvassing the neighborhood on foot and located the suspect at 8:40 a.m. outdoors in the Black Bear Trail area, Cordingly said. She was uncertain if the boy remained outdoors that entire time and was hiding in yards. It was not believed that he was ever in a residence while hiding, and he was not in a vehicle, she said.
The juvenile was apprehended with no shots fired, but law enforcement officers treated his threat as serious, Cordingly said. “A person who makes threats with a gun, you don’t know their mental state,” she said.
Eagle County deputies had prior contact with the suspect on criminal matters, she said. However, he was not being transported to Utah as part of any Eagle County criminal juvenile case, she said.
The youth was arrested for menacing, reckless endangerment, possession of a handgun by a juvenile and obstructing a peace officer, the sheriff’s office said. He was arrested for menacing for making the threat to shoot, Cordingly said, and he was arrested for reckless endangerment for placing the public at risk by running around with a gun.
Authorities didn’t use Reverse 911 to alert residents of the neighborhood about an armed and potentially dangerous suspect. Basalt schools were closed for parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday, so no students were at bus stops during the incident.
Eagle County District Judge Fred Gannett ordered Tuesday afternoon that the suspect be taken to Mountain View, a facility in Denver for juveniles, until his next hearing on March 17.
The suspect also is due in Pitkin County’s juvenile court system on March 7. There, he has four cases pending against him. And in November the male, who was a Basalt High School student at the time, was arrested after police allegedly found a knife in his school locker.
He also faced felony charges connected to forgery (writing checks), among other counts in Pitkin County.
The male had been placed in YouthZone, a program that works with troubled youths, but could not abide by the agreements he had made with the organization, said Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin, during a meeting in chambers yesterday with Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols.
Nichols noted that a “bulk of his [criminal cases] are here” in Pitkin County. She said it would “be in the child’s best interests” if the charges he faces in both counties are consolidated in Pitkin.
Nichols also issued an arrest warrant for the juvenile because he allegedly violated terms of his bail-bond conditions, which are connected to two cases in Pitkin County, during Tuesday’s episode in the Blue Lake neighborhood.
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