published Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Man held after wild car-theft spree near Denver

GOLDEN, Colo. — A man wielding a rifle and a handgun hijacked a car, burst through a garage door in a stolen SUV and tried to commandeer two state-owned dump trucks before a deputy wrestled him to the pavement on a highway west of Denver, authorities said.

No major injuries were reported in the Wednesday drama, which unfolded as a news crew shot video from a helicopter overhead.

Police identified the suspect as 37-year-old Christopher David Sullivan, who appeared in court on Thursday. A judge ordered him held on $1 million cash bond.

Online jail records did not indicate whether Sullivan has an attorney.

The string of thefts began when a car with a man and a girl inside fled during a traffic stop, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said. The deputy did not pursue them because of policy.

Over the next two hours, a car with two people inside was hijacked, a pickup truck was stolen from outside a house and the SUV crashed through the closed garage door, officials said.

The girl separated from the man and was taken into custody.

Helicopter video then shows the man waving a rifle at vehicles on Interstate 70. One vehicle slowed down but then sped off.

A deputy on a motorcycle, Fred Haggett, ordered the man to drop his weapons then wrestled him to the ground with the help of at least one passer-by.

"I was just reacting to the circumstances," Haggett told reporters Thursday. "Here's someone with a weapon, he's a deadly threat. There's not a whole lot of thought of involved, just reaction."

Deputies fired weapons at some point, but it was not immediately clear if the man fired shots, authorities said.

A similar scene played out on Denver-area TV screens in March, when a man stole an SUV with a 4-year-old boy inside and carjacked two other vehicles before striking a state trooper. The boy was unharmed and the trooper was seriously injured.

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