Suspect In Carjacking Spree Caught

Joseph Yacteen Accused Of Shooting Singer Marc Cohn

After a 5½-hour standoff, police have captured a man wanted in connection with three attempted carjackings and shooting Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn in the head.

Joseph William Yacteen, 26, is being held on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, robbery and other charges after police say he went on a carjacking spree Sunday night. Police also arrested Patricia Vail, 23, was also arrested and is being held under investigation of being an accessory to crime.

Police say during that spree, Yacteen shot at a van downtown in which Cohn and his road manager were riding. Cohn, famous for his hit song "Walking in Memphis," had just performed at a sold-out concert at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Joseph Yacteen is being helding on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, robbery and a slew of other charges in connection with three attempted carjackings.

By Monday evening, officers had cornered the shooting suspect at a vacant home near 27th Avenue and Josephine Street. At about 6 p.m., officers used reverse 911 to notify residents in that area of what was going on. Officers then set up a perimeter around the neighborhood, shot out the street lights and even had dogs at the scene hoping to bring Yacteen in.

Officers shot him with rubber bullets to finally take him into custody at about 11:30 p.m.

"Officers went into the house. They deployed gas, he still refused to come out. They deployed what's called a 40-round, or a sponge, it's like a sponge ball. They shot him with that. He came out at that point in time," said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

On Tuesday, Cohn flew back home to New York and released this statement: "I feel lucky to be alive and happy to be heading home to my family. I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to the wonderful emergency room crew at Denver Health Medical Center and the the Denver Police. I am extremely relieved that the suspect has been apprehended and won't be able to hurt anyone else. My band and I look forward to putting this behind us and going back to work."

Police said that Yacteen tried to carjack Cohn's van in a parking garage in the 1400 block of Stout Street Sunday evening. When he found that the door was locked, Yacteen allegedly fired one bullet, grazing Cohn's driver and tour manager before striking the singer in the left temple.

Cohn had a bullet removed from his head and was released from Denver Health Medical Center Monday morning. His wife, ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas, had flown to Denver to be with him. Cohn's road manager, Tom Dube, was cut by flying glass and had glass imbedded in his face and eye. Dube was also treated and released Monday morning.

Cohn won the Grammy in 1992 for best new artist. The rest of his concert tour has been canceled.

Patricia Vail is being held under investigation of being an accessory to a crime.

Yacteen has a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear in court after posting $25,000 bond in a June 28 case involving possession of drugs and a weapon. He was on the run and had told security officers who were chasing him that he refused to go back to jail, police said.

Police say that the crime spree began at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, when security for the Regional Transportation District noticed a Cadillac parked on the RTD light-rail tracks near the Magnolia Hotel. When the two security officers asked hotel workers about the car, they said that the car belonged to a hotel guest who had just tried to pay his bill with a stolen credit card. Security officers then talked to Yacteen and when he learned that hotel workers had called Denver police, he took off, running down Stout Street toward the 16th Street Mall, police said.

The security officers jumped aboard a light-rail train and spotted him walking near the 14th and Stout Street station. When they asked him to stop he ran into the Tarantulas nightclub, police said. A few minutes later, a bouncer brought Yacteen out.

The security officers told him police were on the way and to stay put, but he pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the security officers and said, "I'm not going back to jail," police said.

When the security guards drew their weapons and ran for cover, Yacteen ran to an alley between Stout and Champa, where he stopped a woman and her boyfriend who were loading a Chevrolet Impala with their belongings. The suspect allegedly aimed the gun at the woman and demanded the keys to the car, but when the boyfriend said they didn't have the keys, he chased the boyfriend to Stout Street.

Then the suspect ran up to Cohn's van and allegedly fired one shot when the door wouldn't open.

Soon after, an RTD officer again confronted the gunman, telling him to drop his weapon. Yacteen ran back toward the Convention Center, where he forced four men out of a Subaru Forester and then sped away with the carjacked vehicle.

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