Suspect identified in shooting of trooper
October 25, 2006
Law enforcement officials have identified the man they believe shot a state trooper Tuesday night as Steven Joseph Appl.
The suspect remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous, authorities warn.
Colorado State Patrol Captain Rich Duran said Appl was stopped by Trooper Brian Koch at about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday on County Road 346, which runs just south of Interstate 70, between Rifle and Silt. Koch pulled Appl over and “there was an altercation outside the vehicle,” Duran said.
Koch was shot in the arm and twice in the chest, but a bulletproof vest prevented the bullets from penetrating his torso. Koch sustained a gunshot wound in the left forearm and underwent surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. He is in stable condition, surrounded by family and friends, according to Duran.
Duran, who spoke at two separate press conferences at the Garfield County Courthouse this afternoon, said Appl drove away in his car, a purple Chevy Cobalt with Arizona plates, and went off Dry Hollow Road about three miles south of Silt. He abandoned the car and fled on foot.
Anyone who has information regarding Appl’s whereabouts should call (970) 945-1377 (ext. 1054) or (970) 826-1321.
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Today, several area law enforcement agencies searched for Appl, setting up roadblocks on Interstate 70 and some side roads. Area schools were locked down to prevent the entry of unauthorized individuals and motorists were warned not to pick up hitchhikers.