COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A man who allegedly robbed and tried to kill the wife of a former police was in court Tuesday.
CSPD responds to carjacking in Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood. May 24, 2017.
11 News reported about the arrest of 19-year-old Jyaer Pepper last June. He was one of four arrested in a string of crimes. Others who were involved were juveniles and have not been named.
At the El Paso County courthouse Tuesday, Pepper was expected to plead guilty to the carjacking crimes, but when the judge asked him what he did exactly, the suspect didn't take ownership of why he was pleading guilty. His plea was not accepted, and a trial date was set for the beginning of April.
It began last May when 11 News first told you how a man was robbed and carjacked at gunpoint in a Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood.
A car was stolen from Concerto Drive around 10 a.m. on May 24.
“Normally, our neighborhood’s very safe, very trusting," said Sharon Harter, a neighbor of the victim. "I have no concerns being out and about or coming home or leaving, so this is quite unusual to have something to this extent happen.”
The victim spoke with 11 News reporter Khloe Keeler shortly after police arrived. He was visibly shaken up, stating how frightening it was to be held at gunpoint, not knowing then if he would make it out alive.
The victim believed the suspects first spotted him taking out cash from an ATM, then followed him to his house just a few blocks away. The four suspects were seen driving a dark blue, box-style car.
The victim parked his car in his garage and noticed the men in the car stopped as well. He said he believed they might have been lost and were going to ask for directions. That's when one suspect ran up and held a gun to the victim's head. The victim said he was told to get on the ground.
One male suspect then took the victim's wallet, phone and keys. Then that suspect drove off in the stolen car, while the other three took off in their blue car.
The stolen car was later found after the suspects were caught.
“You feel a sense of violation and, you know, it’s concerning that this type of activity has occurred in the neighborhood and makes me think twice about keeping the alarm on and my activity,” Harter said.
The victim wanted others to learn from what happened to him. He warned homeowners to always watch for anything suspicious and make sure no one is following in their car.
Later that day, police also released information about a second carjacking that happened about an hour later near Gold Camp Road about eight miles northwest of the first neighborhood. It was later confirmed the same suspects were involved.
Pepper and the other three suspects were accused of approaching a woman in her car while pointing a gun at her head. That woman is the wife of the former Springs and Pueblo police chief, Lou Velez. A gunshot was fired at his wife, hitting her headrest and shattering her car window as she tried to get away.
Arrest papers say during an interview after his arrest, Pepper laughed that the victim would be on the news because he thought he killed her. He also boasted that her face would be put on memorial t-shirts.
Less than 24 hours after those crimes, in the early morning hours of May 25, Pepper was also reportedly involved in a shootout where a bullet went through an apartment near North Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway. Two people were hit, including a man who was sleeping in his apartment. They were expected to make full recoveries.
Before the trial date in April, Pepper will be back in court at the end of January for a hearing.