Aurora police officers arrested a murder suspect Saturday after a vehicle chase involving Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, who ran into a police commander in the pursuit.
The incident began around 3:40 p.m. near East Colfax Avenue and Havana Street when a police officer discovered a man suspected of murder, Jesus Aguirre-Flores, 26, driving in a vehicle. The officer tried to overtake the vehicle, but the driver, Khadija Evans, 24, drove away.
After about a 10-minute chase that traveled through northwest Denver and Aurora, an officer used his patrol vehicle to ram the suspect’s vehicle and stop the chase. Two officers suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.
Aguirre-Flores was arrested by Aurora on suspicion of first degree murder, according to Aurora police, while Evans was arrested for evading officers.
Aguirre-Flores is suspected of murdering 35-year-old Lance M. Gerry on August 17 at the Radiant Inn on East Colfax Avenue, according to police. Gerry was shot.
Coffman said in a statement on Twitter that he participated in the chase as part of a rideshare – where residents can meet with police officers for a shift and see how the job is done. Coffman set out on Saturday afternoon to “meet” the town’s first responders, he said.
“Shortly after leaving District 1 headquarters, we followed a murder suspect who was driving a stolen vehicle at high speed,” he said in the statement, then declined to comment.
A spokesman for Coffman’s office declined to comment. Aurora police chief Chris Amsler said the vehicle the mayor was in had been in the chase for about a minute before he pulled away and followed the chase from a distance.
“They were only in chase for about a minute, and then they would pull back and do what we call shadows. They are not directly involved in the chase, they followed them from different side streets in parallel,” he said.
Amsler said Coffman was at the scene when the chase ended and watched the suspects being arrested in a patrol car.
Aurora Police Department guidelines allow residents who are not officers to participate in ridesharing chases only in “exceptional circumstances,” Amsler said.
“We considered the fact that this was an armed suspect who had killed someone in the past to be an exceptional circumstance,” he said.
The prosecution is being checked to make sure all police department guidelines are being followed, he added.