UPDATE: details of Lincoln Creek hostage incident
Details about an hours-long hostage incident on Independence Pass show alleged gunman Brolin McConnell, of Colorado Springs, believed he was in a Truman Show-like scenario and that his life was in danger. Twelve accounts from victims and witnesses were collected and made available from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office yesterday.
The first 911 dispatch call reported that McConnell told a motorist to turn around on Lincoln Creek Road, or else we would kill two men he was holding at gunpoint.
Three individuals were allegedly held hostage by McConnell. Mark Meredith and Brian Buchanan first encountered McConnell as they were leaving the Lincoln Creek Campground. McConnell blocked their way with his truck and brandished two firearms. He ordered the men out of their car and told them to take their shirts off to make sure they were not hiding guns, according to the incident report. The two were able to escape when a third victim, Blake Ramelb approached the scene and was also ordered out of his car by gunpoint.
When Pitkin County Deputy Ryan Turner arrived, McConnell retreated into his pickup truck, ranting incoherently, according to the report. As Turner took position behind a rock, he heard McConnell fire gunshots at Ramelb, whose leg is in a cast, and later told law enforcement he was unsure if he would be able to run away due to his injury. However, at one point while McConnell was distracted speaking with Deputy Turner, Ramelb did run. Law enforcement surrounded McConnell who dropped his weapons, lay on the ground and placed his hands behind his back.
Once restrained though, McConnell oscillated between calm moments and violent outbursts. He was transported to the Pitkin County Jail in a Basalt Police vehicle that is equipped with protective partitions. Three blood draws were taken for the purpose of drug testing. Basalt Police Officer Jason Hegberg reported that McConnell’s erratic behavior and teeth grinding is consistent with methamphetamine use.
In an advisement hearing yesterday overseen by Judge Chris Seldin, McConnell was formally charged with felony kidnapping, menacing, intimidation, stalking, and false imprisonment.
Wednesday, July 27th
A Colorado Springs man who was holding a hostage at gunpoint near the entrance of the Lincoln Creek campground on Highway 82 is in custody at the Pitkin County Jail.
Just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the man, identified as Brolin McConnell, 30, was brought into the jail via a Basalt Police vehicle and was heard screaming violently from the backseat.
Around 5 p.m., McConnell reportedly had an altercation with another individual and began firing shots. Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene by numerous witnesses who drove to a place with cell service while the scene unfolded.
Paramedics went into the jail to tend to the suspect who was described by authorities as uncooperative. The jail was put on lockdown prior to McConnell's arrival for the safety of the inmates.
Authorities raced up to the scene on Independence Pass when the initial 911 call came in. The pass was closed in both directions from Aspen and Twin Lakes for nearly two hours. A crime scene had been established at Lincoln Creek and investigators were on the scene Wednesday evening.
McConnell was charged with First Degree Kidnapping, a class 2 felony, and Prohibited Use of a Weapon, a class 2 misdemeanor.
Aspen Public Radio will update you on this story when more information is available.