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Man shot by law enforcement after reportedly trying to carjack off-duty Pueblo County deputy

 Pueblo police were at the scene of a deadly officer-involved shooting on Highway 50 on Monday, March 2, 2020.
Pueblo police were at the scene of a deadly officer-involved shooting on Highway 50 on Monday, March 2, 2020. (KKTV)
Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 4:22 AM MST
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A man is dead after first leading police on a chase and then trying to carjack an off-duty Pueblo County sheriff's deputy late Sunday night.

Pueblo police said officers were investigating a carjacking that happened around 10 p.m. at a 7-Eleven off Elizabeth Street and Highway 50. During that carjacking, officers said the suspect hit the victim in the head with a handgun and stole a 2004 Dodge truck.

The suspect was identified on Tuesday by the Pueblo County Coroner as Joshua Russell of Pueblo.

While police were at the gas station investigating the carjacking, officers said they were talking to a man and woman in an Escalade. During the conversation, the 35-year-old man abruptly took off. At some point during his attempt to flee, police said his car became immobile.

“The speculation is that he hit the curb over here, full head-on, and that’s what damaged the vehicle,” said Sgt. Frank Ortega with the Pueblo Police Department.

Officers sped after the suspect, who didn't even make it a quarter-mile on Highway 50.

"That individual exited the vehicle with an AR-style rifle and attempted to carjack two vehicles. The first vehicle continued westbound; the second vehicle was an off-duty sheriff's deputy," Ortega said.

The deputy fired at the suspect.

"At the same time, or roughly the same time, an on-duty Pueblo police officer engaged the suspect. Several rounds were fired, and the suspect is deceased on scene," Ortega said.

The shooting happened just before midnight. Ortega said there is no indication that the suspect fired his weapon, but the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is processing the scene for any evidence otherwise. Both the deputy and the officer are on paid administrative leave.

Police said the woman who was with the suspect in the car was interviewed and is cooperating.

Detectives are also investigating whether the suspect is the same person involved in the 7-Eleven carjacking.

"The male that is deceased here on the highway, he doesn't match the suspect description from the original carjacking exactly,” Ortega said. “But they're reviewing video from that original incident to see if he's involved or not.”

Shortly after the shooting, Ortega said police found the Dodge truck that was originally stolen from the 7-Eleven not too far from the scene.

During the investigation, Highway 50 was closed in both directions from Club Manor Drive to North Elizabeth Street. It reopened around 10:15 a.m.

The police department would like to speak to the people who were nearly carjacked on Highway 50 but got away. Anyone who was inside that car is asked to call the police department's dispatch line at 719-553-2502, or contact Detective Jose Medina directly at 719-320-6006.

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