By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
A suspect in a drive-by shooting in Colorado was finally apprehended on Thursday evening on Highway 789 near Baggs, Wyoming.
Jose Valdez, of Craig, Colorado, had been on the run for nearly 24 hours after eluding law enforcement in Colorado on Wednesday evening and eventually crashing his car and abandoning it in Riverside, Wyoming at approximately 1am on Thursday.
The Saratoga Sun reported that Valdez was caught in a stolen truck following a high speed chase over Highway 70 and through Baggs at 6:45pm on Thursday.
“A wrecker has been called for the truck and an ambulance called to examine the suspect,” the newspaper reported.
Saratoga radio station “Bigfoot 99” reported that the Wyoming Highway Patrol disabled the stolen vehicle Valdez was driving with a “tactical driving maneuver at mile marker 8 on WYO 789.”
Valdez was taken into custody at the scene around 6:45 this evening, the radio station said.
A bodycam photo of the suspect was released by Colorado authorities and has a date stamp of July 3, 2021.
The opening of schools in Riverside and neighboring Encampment was delayed by two hours Thursday morning as a result of the manhunt.
On Facebook, Carbon County Wyoming Republican Chairman Joey Correnti offered prayers for the community and law enforcement looking for the suspect.
“Lord we pray for the safety of our community members and law enforcement personnel across the entire Platte Valley and trust that your perfect plan will lead to a quick and uneventful resolution of this situation,” he said.
Correnti and another local citizen concurred that the suspect would be best off if law enforcement found him first.
“I bet everyone in the area is loaded for bear this morning,” William Muhamet said. “Nowhere to run, fella.”
“I would have to agree that this individual probably has a better chance if he runs into the police than if he runs into a community member,” Correnti agreed.
“That was/is my exact thought,” Muhamet said. “He doesn’t stand a chance of not looking down a barrel if a resident finds him first.”