Air Force officials say 21-year-old Airman 1st Class Nico Cruz Santos was taken into custody at Schriever Air Force Base at about 8 p.m. Monday. They're still investigating how he managed to get his personal handgun into the base before barricading himself in a building for ten hours.
According to the Colorado Courts online database, Santos recently pleaded guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of a child, a felony. That was after a plea deal with prosecutors reduced the charges from internet luring of a child.
According to the Jefferson and Gilpin County DA's office, he was caught chatting online with underage girls and asking for nude photos of them. An affidavit obtained by KKTV 11 News says that he asked to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex, but that girl was actually a sergeant with the Gilpin County Sheriff's Office.
According to the document, Santos used a significant amount of explicit language and asked repeatedly for nude photos in the chatroom before planning to meet the girl.
After Santos was arrested, the affidavit says he waived his Miranda Rights and spoke with the sergeant who'd portrayed the teenage girl. When asked why he was asking an underage girl to meet for sex, he allegedly replied: "not thinking sir."
Santos also reportedly acknowledged asking for photos of the girl's private parts.
He's also quoted as saying, "I'm not thinking clearly. There's no excuse for my actions."
He's been out on $10,000 bond for almost a year and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 16. He could face up to 18 months in prison. Prosecutors say Santos is also being evaluated for intensive sex offender probation. That would include treatment, supervision and registration as a sex offender.
Santos has been in the Air Force for two years and nine months and is a member of the 50th Security Forces. He faces possible discipline or discharge over the felony.
Santos was barricaded inside the Deployment Processing Building for about ten hours Monday. That building was evacuated throughout the standoff, and no one was injured in the incident.
"We are grateful for all our first responders in their professionalism that was critical to the peaceful resolution of this situation," said Col. James P. Ross, 50th Space Wing commander.
El Paso County Sheriff's Office Representative Sgt. Mike Schaller also says they provided a negotiator.
Santos is in confinement at the Teller County confinement facility and additional charges are expected to be filed against him.
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