Man charged for assaulting Rocky Mountain National Park ranger with a deadly weapon

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A Rocky Mountain National Park ranger and another person were taken to the hospital after exchanging gunfire on Dec. 8, 2021 just outside the Fall River entrance. (Credit: KDVR)

DENVER (KDVR) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Wednesday that the man involved in a shooting at Rocky Mountain National Park earlier this month has been charged with assaulting a federal officer by use of a deadly weapon

Daron Marquel Ellis was arrested on Dec. 10 and made his first appearance in federal court on Monday.

The incident happened on Dec. 8 at RMNP. Colorado State Patrol told FOX31 the shots were fired after a ranger stopped a vehicle that troopers had been pursuing.

According to the affidavit, 30 minutes before Ellis arrived at RMNP he was pulled over by a CSP trooper for speeding. Trooper Villavicencio discovered the 2016 Hyundai Sonata that Ellis was driving appeared to have been stolen. When Villavicencio returned to his patrol car, Ellis drove away from the scene.

Villavicencio followed the vehicle for a quarter of a mile, before ending his pursuit.

According to RMNP, a park ranger encountered the two suspects reported in a vehicular pursuit with CSP earlier between the Fall River entrance and visitors center. When the ranger contacted the suspects, the ranger was shot. The ranger was protected by a bulletproof vest and not seriously injured. The ranger returned fire, injuring Ellis.

Special agents later found the female passenger was an “associate” whom Ellis had removed from a bad situation. She was in custody based on a Colorado arrest warrant unrelated to the Dec. 8 incident. The passenger was uninjured in the shooting.

On Dec. 13, additional charges of vehicular eluding, aggravated motor vehicle theft, and use of fictitious plates were also filed against Ellis

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