Author: Mike Callahan
By PoliceOne Staff
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A retired police officer stopped a gunman who police said fired at random people during a multi-county crime spree.
On July 2, police pursued 29-year-old Austin Benson after receiving a report that he stole a vehicle, KOAA reported. Authorities said Benson was shooting at random vehicles during the pursuit, according to KUSA.
Benson eventually drove onto an occupied campsite and started yelling, police said. A family drove by to check on Benson when witnesses said Benson fired a round at them.
According to an affidavit, a retired officer from Alabama, 51-year-old Wesley Mattox, said he was camping with his wife when he heard Benson yelling.
When Mattox approached Benson, the suspect reportedly told him “to get him water and that the law was after him.” Benson had a rifle in his hand and pointed it at the retired officer, the affidavit stated.
Mattox then gave his wife a gun and told her to take cover before taking out an AR-15 and ordering Benson to drop his weapon. Benson drove away and started shooting at Mattox, who returned fire.
The affidavit said Benson eventually crashed into a tree. The retired officer told deputies that after he thought his used all of his ammunition for his rifle, he pulled out a second AR-15 out of his truck and fired one more shot to see of Benson would react since he didn’t see any movement from him after the crash.
Manitou Springs police officers arrived at the scene and investigated the incident. Police said Benson was shot “several times” in the arm and face but survived.
Benson faces several charges, including six charges for attempted first-degree murder. Deputies said they initially thought Benson stole the vehicle he was driving, but later learned he had permission to drive it.
Police said no one else was injured during the incident.