Former Vail IT director fugitive found dead by suicide in Arizona

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Ronald James Braden

VAIL, Colo. (KDVR) — A fugitive from Vail, Ronald James Braden, died by suicide on Saturday in Arizona as law enforcement officers attempted to contact him, Vail police report.

According to officials, Vail detectives determined Braden fled to Maricopa County in Arizona after ditching his GPS tracking device. Local authorities were alerted of his location.

Approximately 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and after hours of surveillance, the Maricopa County Fugitive Task Force attempted to contact Braden when he shot himself before team members could get to him. He was pronounced dead at the scene, officials say.

Authorities have been searching for the 55-year-old former Vail Information Technology director since he removed his GPS tracking device on Nov. 15. He was ordered to wear the device as a condition of his release on bond.

Braden was arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, embezzlement of public property, theft, official misconduct, forgery and assault on a peace officer.

Body cam footage was obtained from the night of his arrest. In the video, one can see Vail police stop Braden in his van and ask him to get out of the vehicle.

Instead, Braden responds, “No” and attempts to restart the engine and drive away. That’s when the body cam footage shows officers reach inside the car and grab Braden’s arm. One officer yells, “No, no, no, no. Ron, I’m telling you right now there is a warrant for your arrest. Get out of the car! Ron, I will rip you through this window if I have to.”

Braden responds, “Shoot me. F***ing Shoot me. F***ing shoot me. This is bulls**t.”

Resisting arrest led to additional charges against Braden, including assault on a peace officer, disarming a peace officer, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, obstructing a peace officer, resisting arrest and large capacity magazine prohibition.

Braden resigned from the town’s employment after an arrest for soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2018.  

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