Longmont Police officer shoots man in gun battle near shopping center

LONGMONT, Colo. - A Longmont Police officer pulling over a man driving without his headlights Wednesday morning suddenly ended up in a shootout.

Longmont Police said the officer pulled the driver over at the Harvest Junction North Shopping Center on Ken Pratt Boulevard around 2:15 a.m.

"Immediately after stopping, the suspect exited his vehicle, advanced on the officer and began firing multiple rounds at the officer with an AR15-style rifle," police said in a news release.

The suspect was later identified as Jonathan Shank, 28, of Longmont.

Investigators think Shank's rifle had a 30-round magazine, Longmont Commander Jeffrey M. Satur said.

Satur said Shank fired an "amazing amount of rounds."

The officer said he got out of his car and returned fire with his police-issued Glock 17.

The officer was not hurt, but the suspect was hit at least three times.

"I live just a few miles south of here and you always think this happens someplace else," said witness Bill May, "You don't realize that I guess that it could happen here."

"We've heard about this sort of stuff but we didn't think we'd actually come across it," said Corey Smith, an Australian tourist who passed by the crime scene and described seeing a police vehicle peppered with bullet holes.

Investigators said the officer was only armed with traditional police gear.

"He did a miraculous job. He was under a lot of fire from this suspect," Satur said about the officer. "This was a very critical incident, but he just did an outstanding job."

As of 12:15 p.m., Shank was listed in critical condition at Denver Health.

Later, investigators were seen carrying two boxes of what appeared to be ammunition from Shank's home in the 1300 block of South Emery Street in Longmont. Neighbors told 7NEWS Shank lives with family and described him as a quiet man.

The officer, per city policy, is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation by the Boulder County Investigations Team and the Longmont Police Department.

7NEWS checked and found Shank has a minor criminal history from an arrest in October 2007 for DUI, careless driving, driving without proof of insurance and driving without a license.

Stores in the shopping center opened as usual Wednesday, but the majority of the parking lot was closed until early afternoon while police searched the crime scene.

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