A 35-year-old police officer in Colorado died over the weekend after he fell from a bridge and plummeted approximately 40 feet while pursuing multiple suspected carjackers.
Officer Julian Becerra, a member of the Fountain Police Department’s K9 Unit, succumbed to his injuries on Saturday evening following more than a week of treatment at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, the department said.
Becerra, who previously served in the U.S. Air Force, had been with the department for approximately 4 1/2 years.
“It is with extreme sadness that we at the Fountain Police Department notify the public that K-9 Officer Julian Becerra has succumbed to the injuries he suffered during an on-duty incident that occurred on February 2, 2023,” the department said Sunday. “We appreciate the public’s outpouring of support over the past week for Officer Becerra, his family and the Fountain Police Department.”
According to a press release, the tragic incident began at approximately 4 p.m., when the Department of Corrections Parole Unit sought assistance from FPD in locating a carjacking suspect from the Pueblo area who had active felony warrants. The suspect was believed to be traveling north on I-25 in a stolen vehicle with two other suspects.
Police say the suspects’ car was located traveling toward the City of Fountain at approximately 7:15 p.m. and officers “attempted several tactical vehicle interventions (TVI) to stop the vehicle” that were ultimately unsuccessful. Officers said they ceased pursuit of the vehicle for safety reasons after it turned onto Highway 85 and began driving at a high speed in the wrong direction.
Stationary perimeter positions were set up to stop the suspects’ vehicle, but police said the suspects pulled into Love’s Travel Plaza located in the 5500 block of Travel Plaza Drive where they were seen attempting to “commit another armed carjacking of a community member.”
Just before 8 p.m., police partially disabled the vehicle and performed another TVI to stop the suspects’ vehicle on South Academy, just east of Hartford Street.
“The driver jumped out of the vehicle and began to run from officers on foot. While officers were trying to apprehend the suspect, an FPD Officer fell over the bridge and landed 40 feet below,” the release states. “The suspect attempted to jump off the bridge to elude officers at which time the officers grabbed him to prevent his escape and fall. As the suspect was hanging over the bridge he repeatedly stated, ‘let me go, I want to die.’ The officers were able to pull him up to safety and place him into custody without incident.”
Authorities have not provided details regarding what caused Officer Becerra to fall from the bridge.
“Whether it was a fall or trip, a push, a slip, we really don’t know,” Commander Mark Cristiani said the day after the incident, according to Colorado Springs NBC affiliate KOAA-TV. “We’re reviewing all the evidence that we have at the moment.”
Three suspects, two men and one woman, were taken into custody and booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, police said. They were identified as 31-year-old Devon Bobian, 32-year-old Anthony Vallejos, and 28-year-old Danisha Pacheco. All three were charged with multiple felonies in connection to the pursuit. Bobian and Vallejos were also charged on multiple active felony warrants.
Officer Becera is survived by his wife, Katherine Alderman, and two children, ages one and eight. A GoFundMe page was created to raise money for the family.
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