Escaped sex offender Lawrence Avila busted after stun gun duel with parole officer

DENVER - A parole officer and an escaped sex offender passed each other on Federal Boulevard in Denver Friday and both pulled out their stun guns. The officer won, taking the escapee into custody.

Police radios cracked, "Southbound on Federal, southbound on Federal," as the officer chased Lawrence Avila on foot in the vicinity of West 5th Avenue.

The officer was in the area checking up on another parolee when he spotted Avila with two women near a broken down van. He said he knew Avila was a wanted man.

Authorities say Avila, 41, removed his ankle monitoring bracelet last December, and was wanted in Lakewood for failing to register as a sex offender. His entry on the sex offender registry says he was convicted for sex assault on a child in 1993.

The suspect took off running when the officer spotted him Friday morning. The officer caught up with him behind the 7-Eleven at Short Place and Federal. That’s when Avila apparently pulled out a stun gun, then dropped it. The officer, who had a regular gun in his hand, pulled out his stun gun and deployed it.

"Federal and Short, Taser deployment," he said on the radio. "Someone’s in custody. Code 4."

"There were police all over the place," said a clerk at a nearby gas station. "I saw a van with two women."

Police initially handcuffed the two women who were with Avila, but later released them saying there was no evidence they knew that Avila was a wanted man.

Avila, who is being held in the Denver Detention Center on a hold for Lakewood and Jefferson County, has an eight page rap sheet that details numerous arrests for crimes ranging from aggravated motor vehicle theft to kidnapping and assault.

He was on parole for a domestic violence case out of Lakewood. He was convicted of third-degree assault and conspiracy to commit menacing.

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