Prosecutor: Pursuit suspect narrowly avoids being shot

Chase Schroeder (DCSO)

A Delta man who allegedly ran from police on several occasions was “lucky not to be shot” when he was arrested June 15, prosecutors said.

Chase Schroeder, 35, led Delta County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a pursuit from the Peach Valley area on Wednesday, which ended on property occupied by a woman and young child, Sheriff Mark Taylor alleged. Taylor said just before Schroeder was taken into custody, he began reaching behind him, as if for a weapon, and threatening the deputy, who “showed great restraint” and tasered him.

Schroeder, who had two other warrants for cases in Delta County, as well as warrants in Mesa County, was detained on suspicion of motor vehicle theft, possession of drugs/weapon, vehicular eluding and trespassing. Formal charges are due to be filed by June 21.

Taylor said authorities had been trying to pick up Schroeder on his warrants for a few months, but each time he was spotted, he would speed off. Pursuits were initiated, but were called off due to safety issues; Taylor said Schroeder drove in a manner that endangered the public, which caused deputies to terminate the chases.

At about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the DCSO received a tip as to Schroeder’s whereabouts near Peach Valley. When deputies arrived, he’d departed, driving east.

Because of Schroeder’s alleged history of running from police, the DCSO sent several units into the area; one deputy spotted him in a Ford truck that Taylor said had been reported as stolen.

The old pattern repeated, Taylor said: Schroeder reportedly took off at a high speed.

Despite the horse trailer hooked to the truck, he gained enough of a distance at one point that he was able to quickly stop and unhook the trailer, per Taylor, who said Schroeder jumped back into the vehicle as the deputy closed in. He again drove away, but this time, ran into a ditch.

According to the sheriff, Schroeder took off on foot, making it to a nearby property. As backup arrived, the deputy kept track of where Schroeder was hiding under a camp trailer. Soon informed that a woman had locked herself inside the home with her small child, the deputies moved in out of concerns Schroeder would attempt to get inside.

Schroeder ran across an open field, with the deputy closing the gap and coming within 15 feet of him, Taylor said.

“The deputy had lethal force ready and gave several commands for him to get on the ground. As that communication was happening, Mr. Schroeder kept reaching behind his back as if he would pull a gun,” Taylor alleged, also alleging the suspect threatened the deputy.

“The deputy showed great restraint. He didn’t see a weapon. He transitioned to a Taser and was able to demobilize Mr. Schroeder with a Taser,” Taylor said.

Deputies searched the truck, finding an AR-15 and suspected methamphetamine inside, the sheriff also alleged.

“Mr. Schroeder’s behavior shows he is an extreme danger to the local community,” Deputy District Attorney Joshua Dougherty said at Schroeder’s advisement hearing Thursday, arguing for a high bond. As well, Schroeder was a danger to law enforcement and to himself, Dougherty said.

“ … He’s very lucky not to have been shot, to be blunt with the court.”

Dougherty asked that bail be set at either $50,000 cash-only or $250,000 cash/property pledge (surety).

The DDA said Schroeder was the subject of multiple warrants, drove recklessly and then ran through the yard of a mother and her infant.

Dougherty also noted the weapon and drugs reportedly found in the vehicle.

Schroeder’s other Delta County warrants allege false reporting to police and, in another case, burglary, assault and theft, according to court records.

Doughtery alleged that in the latter case, Schroeder had gone into a home, assaulted a man there “and had to beaten back and out of the home, showing he has a tendency toward violence.”

The prosecutor argued that, if released, Schroeder would not comply with court orders.

“He’s continued to escalate. He’s committing more and more serious crimes over the last few months,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty sought a $20,000 cash-only bond in the burglary case, or $50,000 cash/surety. For the other case, he asked for a $1,500 bond.

Schroeder’s public defender asked for a lower cash or surety bond, saying that he has no significant history of failing to appear.

She said Schroeder is employed, has a ride to court, has lived in Delta for a year and has lived in the area for his whole life. She also said he has a severe dental issue he needs to address.

Bond was set at $100,000 cash-only for the Wednesday pursuit case and $10,000 cash-only for the burglary case. Bond was set at $750 in the remaining case.

Schroeder waived advisement on his Mesa County warrants and the court there is to be informed that Schroeder is in custody. Further information about those was not immediately available.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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