Man suspected of sending threatening emails to Pitkin County officials arrested in Colorado Springs

County’s administration building will reopen Thursday

The remodeled Veteran's Memorial Park next to the Pitkin County Administration building.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times file

A former inmate of the Pitkin County Jail who is accused of making threats to local government officials is in custody in Colorado Springs.

Andrew Johnston, 27, was arrested Wednesday after the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office tracked him to a location in Colorado Springs, where local police apprehended him.

Johnston, who allegedly sent two threatening emails to county officials Monday night that intimated that there would be “killing” and “shooting,” is charged with two counts of misdemeanor harassment, according to Pitkin County Undersheriff Alex Burchetta.

Those threats caused the Pitkin County administration building to be placed on lock down Tuesday and Wednesday.

Employees working at the building were evacuated early Tuesday afternoon and a board of county commissioners work session scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. was canceled.

“In today’s climate, with everything going on in our society, we are not going to downplay this. We take these threats seriously,” Burchetta said Wednesday afternoon.

Johnston is currently being held in the El Paso County Jail. Local law enforcement officials are working on extradition plans to bring him to Garfield County Jail, where Pitkin County inmates are being held while safety measures are improved here.

“We are breathing a little easier today having received this news,” Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said in a news release. “It was the tremendous teamwork, over the past 24 hours, from our Sheriff’s Office deputies, Aspen Police Department, CO Information Analysis Center, Colorado State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that led to the quick turnaround on this case and a peaceful resolution.”

Aspen Police arrested Johnston in August for two domestic violence felony charges, including assault by strangulation and stalking causing emotional distress, according to APD Sgt. Mike Tracey.

Johnston was arrested again in September for allegedly violating the court’s protection order.

While he was in held in the Pitkin County Jail, Johnston was charged with criminal mischief for breaking some equipment in the facility, according to Burchetta.

According to booking details at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and jail, Johnston also has warrants out for his arrest for failure to appear and failure to comply.

With Johnston now in police custody, the Pitkin County administration building and sheriff’s office will reopen Thursday.

County Manager Jon Peacock said he recognizes that the lock down was an inconvenience to the public and employees but necessary out of an abundance of caution.

“I appreciate law enforcement’s support and action,” he said. “Part of our risk assessment was to make sure we knew where (Johnston) was and make sure he is in custody.

“Now we have to leave it to law enforcement and the justice system to do its work.”



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