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.

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