AURORA - After a wild car chase Friday night, police shot and captured a man suspected of firing at officers during nighttime traffic stops in Denver and Westminster earlier this week.
The suspect, identified as Larry Gomez, 33, was shot by a Denver officer sometime during a car-and-foot chase that began in Denver and ended on Interstate 225 in Aurora, law enforcement sources told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia.
Gomez and a pursuing Denver police officer crashed their cars on I-225 near Iliff Avenue after 7 p.m.
Gomez jumped from the wreckage and ran, but Aurora and Denver officers soon caught him in a nearby industrial area, police said. He taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The officer in the car crash had minor injuries, police said.
Motorist Sunny Hoosier was stunned after witnessing the chase-ending crash.
"When I got to Abilene and Mississippi, there were cop cars going over curbs and there were cop cars almost running into each other," Hoosier told 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart. "I called my mom, because I was like, 'I don't know what's going on!'"
Gomez now faces a charge of attempted murder of a police officer, police said.
His Colorado arrest record says that Gomez goes by the street name "Lil G." He has a string of arrests for burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, theft and escape. He was sentenced to state prison in 2008 on an escape conviction.
The Friday arrest happened just hours after an Aurora SWAT team found the suspect vehicle in the traffic-stop shootings, an older-model red Cadillac, parked in at an Aurora apartment complex near Sable and Arizona.
Denver police spokeswoman Detective Raquel Lopez said officers towed the Cadillac as a "vehicle of suspicion" in the traffic-stop shootings that happened on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
As the search for the shooting suspect intensified Friday evening, police told 7NEWS that undercover officers were tailing Gomez as he drove a gray car in Denver about 6:30 p.m.
Officers confirmed it was Gomez and they tried to stop his car, but he took off.
As the chase headed north on I-225, Gomez crashed and pursuing police cars wrecked, too.
Gomez ran and he was shot by a Denver police officer, sources told Ferrugia.
Officers Fired On During Traffic Stops, 2 Nights In A Row
During the Westminster shooting early Wednesday morning, a patrol officer was grazed by a bullet when a male motorist in a 2000 Cadillac opened fire, police said.
Westminster police said the officer had stopped a 2000 model Cadillac around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday at 72nd Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard.
The officer said as he got out of his car, the Cadillac driver shot at him, then took off. The officer was grazed on his side, but did not require hospitalization, police said.
The Cadillac was described as a dull-reddish color or primer color with a temporary tag in the window. The officer said the shooter was clean shaven and had a thin face.
On recordings of police radio traffic from the Westminster shooting, a dispatcher can be heard asking the officer if he had any other information.
"Negative, I need medical. I got hit on the side," the officer replies.
Westminster Police Investigator Cheri Spottke said the shooter is considered armed and dangerous.
"It is alarming that he shows no concern for innocent citizens that may be in or around the area when he shoots at officers," Spottke said.
Just 26 hours before the shots were fired in Westminster, Denver police officers at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday conducted a traffic stop on a 2000 Cadillac at West First Avenue near Utica Street.
As officers approached the vehicle, they said the driver suddenly started firing at them.
The officers fired back, but the driver was able to speed away, police said.
Officers lost the vehicle about two miles away.
No officers were hurt.
Denver police said the wanted vehicle was described as a primer or hand painted gray 2000 Cadillac Deville with black tinted windows. The car may have a broken passenger side window and South Dakota plates 49CAR9.
Those officers also described the shooter as a Hispanic or Native American man in his mid-20s to mid-30s with long dark hair.
SWAT Officers Find Suspect Cadillac At Aurora Apartment Building
After the Cadillac was spotted at the Aurora apartment complex, AirTracker's camera showed SWAT officers in helmets and vests using two armored vehicles to prowl around apartment buildings at 4 p.m. Friday. An officer with a police dog also searched the area.
AirTracker7 showed SWAT officers exit an armored vehicle and walk up to the empty red Cadillac sedan parked in the parking lot of an apartment building.
Nearby Schools Placed On Lockdown
On Friday morning, two Aurora schools were locked down because of nearby "police activity." It is unclear if that was related to the SWAT incident at the apartment complex where the Cadillac was seized.
Jewell Elementary and Gateway High Schools were put on lockdown at about 8:15 a.m. The lockdowns were lifted by 4:40 p.m.