DENVER — Douglas County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed two people, and a deputy was injured, in the Lincoln Station RTD parking garage in Lone Tree late Tuesday night, according to the sheriff’s office.
The incident happened around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said during a press conference. He said a deputy with the sheriff's office's pattern crime unit, which specifically searches for stolen cars and auto theft suspects, checked the garage and noticed a suspicious black Kia backed into a spot with a shade visor on the front windshield. The windows were tinted and dark.
The deputy called for backup and six more officers arrived, Spurlock said.
The Kia did not have license plates. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Deputy Jason Blanchard said earlier in the day Wednesday that the locks were punched out.
Officers approached the vehicle, announced themselves and knocked on the windows on both the driver's side and passenger's side, Spurlock said. They did not get a response. But the car was moving, so they knew somebody was inside, Spurlock said.
He said that "almost immediately" upon trying to contact the people inside, the officers were "shot at from the passenger windows on both sides of the car."
Six deputies fired their weapons at the suspects, Blanchard said.
Spurlock said deputies and the suspects shot at each other three times, each instance about seven to nine minutes apart. Each time, the suspects opened fire first. The exact number of rounds wasn't clear just yet, but Spurlock said he estimated around 35 between both groups.
One deputy was hit with glass in his face from the driver's side window, Spurlock said. He was treated at a hospital and released. A bullet went through the sleeve of his shirt, but did not hit him.
Both suspects died in the car. They were identified as 31-year-old David Strain and 29-year-old Clarissa Daws, of Pueblo.
Spurlock said upon further investigation, the sheriff's office learned the car was stolen out of Pueblo.
He said both suspects had warrants out for their arrests in connection with thefts, including auto thefts. One was considered armed and dangerous by the Denver Police Department following a shooting in the metro area from within the last three months, Spurlock said. DPD had been searching for this suspect.
Deputies found two weapons inside the Kia, Spurlock said.
“We have been saying for the last year and a half that auto theft has been the No. 1 crime that has been affecting the metro area because it is related to other crimes — theft, burglary, and drug-related," Spurlock said. "We are seeing people that are involved with weapons as well in these auto thefts.”
He urged anybody who has had their vehicle stolen to contact their local DA's Office to demand prosecution in connection with auto thefts and to stop giving personal recognizance bonds — also called PR bonds — to every person who steals a car.
READ MORE: Denver courts administering high number of personal recognizance bonds
The parking lot and ramp at the RTD station reopened around noon, the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff's office is planning to publish "a small snippet" from a deputy's born-worn camera, Spurlock said.
This was the first shooting involving a deputy in Douglas County this year.
Spurlock said more than 400 vehicles have been stolen out of the county this year. Many have been recovered.
A shelter-in-place order that was in effect in the area was lifted around 2 a.m. The 18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team will investigate the deputy shooting.
This is a developing news story that will be updated.
Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to note the shooting occurred Tuesday night, not Monday night. The story was also updated to include the name of both suspects in this shooting.