Man faces first-degree attempted murder charge after striking woman with crowbar in New Castle

Lonnie Nielsen

A Garfield County Corrections security guard jogging in New Castle on Sunday survived being attacked by a former prisoner.

Rifle resident Lonnie Nielsen, 40, faces felony charges of first-degree attempted murder, assault and obstruction of a peace officer. His bond was set at $1 million, and his arraignment was Thursday with 9th Judicial District Court Judge John Neiley.

Nielsen is scheduled to appear again before Neiley at 9:30 a.m. July 14.

Nielsen was arrested around 12:35 p.m. Sunday after he allegedly struck the jogger in the back of the head with a crowbar, an arrest affidavit states.

The jogger is a Garfield County Corrections security officer who worked closely with Nielsen. Nielsen previously served 20 years for murder and was out on parole, the record states.

“The staff noticed him growing an infatuation with (the victim),” the affidavit states.

The female would tell investigators she was jogging in a more secluded area at Rollie Gordon Park when Nielsen allegedly struck her with the crowbar. Nielsen reportedly parked a half mile away and waited for her to appear.

The jogger left her residence and didn’t see Nielsen approach her when she made her way up a trail, the record states. Once struck, the jogger turned around and identified Nielsen, who was holding the crowbar in one hand, as well as a knife in the other.

“Lonnie stated, ‘I could kill you right now if I wanted to,'” the affidavit states.

Once Nielsen realized what he had done, he dropped to his knees, pressed the knife to his neck and began saying he was going to end his own life, the affidavit states.

“(The victim) stated Lonnie pressed the knife on his neck hard enough to make him bleed,” the affidavit states. “And she told him not to do that.”

At this point, the victim noticed a person walking a dog nearby. The victim then turned away to try and conceal her injury. She also convinced Nielsen to go to his car to get water. When Nielsen agreed, she ran back to her residence and called 911 with her husband.

The victim was then taken to Valley View Hospital, where she received multiple stitches, the affidavit states.

Meanwhile, New Castle Patrol Officer Christopher Contreras was dispatched to the area after receiving a report of a woman covered in blood at Rollie Gordon Park.

Contreras encountered Nielsen running on a nearby road, noticed Nielsen was bleeding from his neck and began asking him questions, the affidavit states.

At this point, Nielsen allegedly tried running away through a nearby alleyway. Contreras eventually caught up to Nielsen, pushed him mid-stride into a fence and placed him in handcuffs while he was on the ground.

“The male had shortness of breath and was sweating profusely,” the affidavit states.

Nielsen was taken to Grand River Health in Rifle before being booked into custody at the Garfield County Jail.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or



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