Pueblo West man fires shots at deputies and residents in early-morning standoff

PUEBLO WEST, Colo. (KKTV) - A Pueblo West neighborhood was riddled with bullets early Wednesday morning, and the shooter is facing a slew of charges including attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer.

A resident in the area of Rustic Drive and North Canvas Drive woke up at about 3 a.m. when he heard the sound of gunshots. The resident went outside to figure out where the shots were coming from when he heard a shot hit the ground near him. The resident ran back inside his home and authorities were called to the neighborhood.

As two deputies were investigating the report of shots fired, more gunshots were heard with bullets striking the ground near the deputies. The deputies took cover behind a structure in the 500 block of Canvas Drive when they heard another 15 to 20 shots fired. The gunfire was coming from a home in the 1100 block of Rustic Drive.

SWAT was called out and a reverse emergency call was made to neighbors in the area. Pueblo County School District 70 officials also were notified due to school bus routes being in the vicinity of the incident. After a brief standoff, the man walked out of the yard at about 5 a.m. and was taken into custody without incident. He was the only resident in the home.

The man firing the shots was 43-year-old Benjamin Chavez, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office. Chavez is facing three counts of attempted first-degree murder on a peace officer, attempted first-degree murder, criminal attempt, illegal discharge of a firearm, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

After searching the house, deputies reported finding nine guns, including a couple of assault rifles. Two more guns were found near a greenhouse housing marijuana plants. Deputies also reported finding various types of ammo all over the house and yard.

Chavez allegedly caused nearly $11,000 in damage to several vehicles and a neighboring house.

“This easily could’ve had a very different outcome due to the reckless disregard this suspect had by indiscriminately shooting in a residential area and at our deputies” said Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor in a release. “I commend the deputies for their quick thinking and putting their active-shooter training to use to get this resolved in a peaceful manner.”

The investigation is ongoing.