High speed chase ends with shooting death in Thornton ‘war zone’

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THORNTON, Colo. -- A high speed chase that began late Thursday night in Thornton took officers all the way to Denver before reportedly ending in a hail of gunfire and one death back in Thornton early Friday morning.

According to Thronton Police, the incident began when officers were called to the scene of a reported domestic violence incident between the suspect and his girlfriend at 11:30 p.m. Neighbors say the couple lived at an apartment complex just north of the northbound 84th Avenue exit off I-25.

When police arrived at the complex around midnight, the suspect, 35-year-old Wesley Maldonado, took off in a white SUV and led police on a chase with speeds that topped out at nearly 100 mph.

FOX31 Denver cameras were on scene during much of the chase, and caught glimpses of the suspect eluding police near I-25 and 20th Street. Our cameras also caught shots of police tearing down 6th Avenue near Santa Fe Boulevard.

Eventually, the suspect led police back to the Thornton apartment complex where it all began, purposely ramming two police cruisers. It was at that point that police fired on the suspect killing him.

Several neighbors talked about the end to the altercation, calling the apartment complex a "war zone" and saying they heard as many as 30 shots fired.

"I saw the SUV riding on bare rims, running through the grass through the apartment complex," witness Zeke Martinez said. "He made his way to the back of the apartment and then back to the front. That’s when I heard gunshots – at least 30 gunshots."

Several neighbors, including one of the suspect's friends, said the suspect, whose identity had not been released as of early Friday morning, had a history of drug use and may have been high on meth during the chase.

Family members did not say what they believed led to the initial 911 call from the apartment.

Police had offered little comment as of early Friday morning, other than to say their investigation into the incident, chase and shooting was ongoing.


  • Test

    Wow, trained professionals, and it took 30+ rounds to incapacitate one person.

    It would be interesting to know if any magazines with over 15 round capacity were used.

    Multiple officers engaged one suspect, meanwhile the Democrats want a single homeowner to engage multiple suspects with no backup and limited capacity magazines. Thanks Democrats.

  • Pete

    You idiots forget, guns are only for killing. SUVs are for driving. And by the way, it’s harder to get a SUV. Right wing nutcases always making this about Democrats and guns. You lose, good day sir,

  • Protecting My Rights

    Anyone who believes that it’s easier to get a gun than an SUV is obviously clueless….. The biggest issue with America is idiots who have never held a gun in their life, want to try and tell law abiding citizens how to run their lives. Hey Pete, why don’t you stick to hugging trees and leave the rest of us alone….. And good luck protecting your family from some drugged up nut job who is coming through your front door someday….you lose, loser!!!!

  • Ruth

    Wow… this is absolutely ridiculous and reckless . It is absurd to chase down a man high on drugs, putting innocent citizens in danger. I am glad… no one got hurt. Police high on adrenaline!!

  • Jullissa Vorrath

    Seriously some ppl are so ignorant first of all dont talk about crossing boarders cuz you all are immigrants too unless your native indian not to mention the largest population in prisons are white…..and its reasons like you john and betsy sociaty is the way it is so check yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Test

    ” cuz you all are immigrants too unless your native indian”

    Sorry, those folks didn’t have to cross an ocean, but they still immigrated here.

    Lesson #2 the first North Americans used what amounts the the current Democrat immigration policy and look where it got them. Do we really think that 1600’s immigration policy is going to work better now?

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