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Man gets 736 years in prison for shooting at law enforcement

CASTLE ROCK – This morning, a Douglas County judge sentenced defendant Lonnie James Pebley, 43 of Castle Rock, to 736 years in the Department of Corrections (2012CR403 – Douglas).

On July 4, 2012 at 11:34 p.m., Castle Rock Police Department received a call stating that a man was hiding with a gun in a set of bushes located at the intersection of Appleton Way and S. Ridge Road in Castle Rock. While CRPD searched the area, the defendant’s brother – who was in the area – told police that he believed the individual they were seeking was the defendant.

Two CRPD officers later found a green Ford Expedition matching the description of the defendant’s vehicle being driven near his home located at 1280 S. Ridge Road. The officers tried to contact the defendant. When officers approached the car, the defendant put his hand on a black handgun that was between the seat and console. When the officers yelled for the defendant not to touch the gun, the defendant reversed his car and began driving. Officers pursued him for roughly a mile, when the defendant stopped at his home.

When the defendant stopped, he got out of his car and fired 10-13 rounds at the officers and their patrol car. Other CRPD officers responded to the scene to assist but they too were trapped upon arrival as the defendant started firing a 7.62 mm rifle at them. The defendant pinned the officers down using gunfire from what appeared to be a semi-automatic assault rifle. In all, the defendant fired more than 70 times at the police officers.

Douglas County SWAT members arrived in an armored vehicle to rescue the pinned-down officers. Although the vehicle continued to take gunshots, the SWAT members were able to rescue all the officers. After ferrying the pinned down officers to safety, SWAT returned to the property and searched the defendant’s home but were unable to locate him. After the search, officers left the house unoccupied. A subsequent search of the home revealed a hidden passage underneath the home.

At 6:38 a.m., CRPD officers located the defendant near the defendant’s brother’s home located approximately two miles from the shooting.

A subsequent investigation located a night vision device near where many of the shots originated.

Officers, believing there may have been children in the defendant’s home, exercised great restraint and fired back at the gunman only twice during the entire incident.

On February 9, 2015, a Douglas County jury convicted the defendant of the following counts:

  • 15 counts of Attempted First Degree Murder (F2)
  • 12 counts of First Degree Assault – Threatening a Peace Officer with a Weapon (F3)
  • 1 count Criminal Mischief – $1000-$20,000 (F4)
  • 1 count of Weapon – Prohibited Use – Reckless with a Gun (M2)
  • 17 counts of Reckless Endangerment (ME)

District Attorney George Brauchler stated:  “The largest shootout in Douglas County’s memory mercifully resulted in no loss of law enforcement lives, only the justified loss of the would-be cop killer’s liberty. Pebley’s AK-47 was no match for Douglas County’s life-saving Bearcat armored vehicle, without which, I have no doubt that we would have buried some of our community’s protectors and Pebley would likely be facing more than a lengthy prison sentence.”

Sheriff Spurlock is pleased with the sentence today and said, “Lonnie Pebley is a calculating, dangerous criminal who terrorized his neighborhood, shot at police officers and deputies who are sworn to protect him and showed no remorse or value for human life. Pebley is a callous human being, responsible for his actions and with today’s sentence handed down by the court, will no longer walk among law-abiding citizens.”

Sheriff Spurlock went on to state he “is grateful for the bravery shown by the deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, officers with the Castle Rock Police Department and all of the responding law enforcement agencies and medical personnel. Thank you to the investigators who prepared this case, the district attorneys who tried this case, the jury that rendered a verdict of guilty and the court for sending a clear message to Lonnie Pebley.”

Castle Rock Police Department Chief Jack Cauley stated:  “In the summer of 2012 Lonnie Pebley attempted to murder our police officers. Today, we witnessed justice served. This convicted felon will now be held accountable for his actions and will no longer pose a threat to our community, neighbors, families and friends. I am extremely proud of all the law enforcement personnel that responded to this horrific event. And I am equally grateful that none of these Heroes lost their lives that night. Castle Rock Police Department thanks the commitment of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the 18th Judicial District Office for ensuring justice being served.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo and Deputy District Attorney Sam Evig prosecuted this case on January 22, 2015 and concluded on February 6, 2015.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo stated:  “27 officers were named as victims in this case. That list was so long because that’s exactly how many lives this defendant attempted to take. Our office, and these verdicts, ensured that he was accountable for every life he endangered. We thank the jury for what was obviously a very important decision they made. We thank the judge for the very thoughtful and considerate ruling that he made today.”

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Heather Mykes and Castle Rock Police Department Detective Mike Williams oversaw the investigation of this case.

The Honorable Paul King presided over this case.

Contacts:  Michelle Yi18th Judicial District Attorney’s OfficeCommunications Director720-541-4675myi@da18.state.co.us Sergeant Ron HanavanDouglas County Sheriff’s OfficePublic Information Officer303-814-7089rhanavan@dcsheriff.net Karen CarterTown of Castle RockCommunity Relations Manager720-290-2827kcarter@CRgov.com