Three charged after paintball incident
Aspen police arrested three men Friday night after one of them allegedly shot an off-duty police officer’s vehicle with a paintball gun.Gumero Ruiz, 19, was charged with reckless endangerment; Rodrigo Chiarelo, 20, the driver of the vehicle, was charged with passing on the left in an unsafe manner and reckless driving; and Adam Durham, 19, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for theft in 2004 in Snowmass Village. An Aspen community safety officer, Rick Magnuson, was driving up Castle Creek Road when his car was shot with a paintball gun. Magnuson, who teaches members of the Aspen Police department in emergency vehicle operation, turned around and followed the car that the paintball came from and called police. The vehicles reportedly reached the roundabout and headed down Highway 82, traveling about 50 mph as they turned down Cemetery Lane. At that point, according to authorities, Magnuson reported the license plate number and hung back, keeping a safe distance while maintaining visual contact. He said the car he was following turned around, went back to the roundabout and up Maroon Creek Road. When the car made an illegal, left-lane pass on a bus, Magnuson decided to pull back, he said. “At that point, you’re in a dead-end valley,” said Steve Smith, a sergeant with the police department. “Where are you going to go?”At least four officers from the Aspen Police Department, with assistance from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, gave pursuit. “Officers saturated the area and eventually found these three guys,” Smith said. “This was certainly an exercise in stupidity.”When the three men were apprehended, police said, they were all on foot near the area of the car. “They were trying to evade a member of this department that is trained to teach police officers emergency vehicle operation,” Smith said. “It was an exercise in stupidity that ended up as an exercise in futility.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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