LAFAYETTE, Colo. (KDVR) — An armed suspect believed to have been driving a stolen car is dead and an officer is wounded after a shootout at a convenience store.

It happened around 1:25 a.m. on Tuesday at Circle K on South Boulder Road in Lafayette.

Police shot and killed the armed man they suspected of driving a stolen silver Toyota Camry that was sitting at the gas pumps.

One officer was hit in the leg when investigators say the male suspect began firing from the car.

The stolen vehicle set off alarms on a license plate reader system as it was driving down a nearby street and police were immediately alerted.

“It’s causing our officers to try to initiate traffic stops on the vehicles and the vehicles are tending to flee out of our community. Which is very important because a lot of these vehicles are being used to commit further crime. That’s why they are stealing the vehicles,” Lafayette Deputy Police Chief Brian Rosipajla said.

Lafayette Police said 51 vehicles were stolen in 2019 and that number jumped to 61 in 2020 and then to 117 in 2021. So far this year, 99 vehicles have been reported stolen.

Car thefts have been plaguing Lafayette and the Denver metro and the numbers just keep rising, with victims saying car thefts are out of control.

A 2018 Hyundai Tucson was stolen in Greeley last month that belonged to Kelly Young’s daughter who is a college student in Greeley.  

“They were in and out of here in three to four minutes,” Young said of the car thieves. She applauds the license plate reader system being used in Lafayette.

“I think that’s a great system. It is such a problem right now. I had no idea stolen vehicles were such a problem,” Young said.

The readers are set up at undisclosed locations around the city of Lafayette.

The department spoke about them, making them very public, wanting car thieves to know they are not welcome there. The car that belonged to Young’s daughter was recovered but will more than likely be totaled because of meth residue in the interior.

Back in Lafayette, it’s not clear who the stolen Camry belonged to. The name of the suspect killed has not been released.