FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. - A dangerous, fleeing suspect might have escaped from Fremont County authorities if a homeowner hadn't found the suspect and held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.
According to witnesses and authorities, the homeowner, who asked to remain anonymous, was checking his backyard Friday when he found the suspect, Christopher Brown, 34, of Pueblo, trying to hide.
The homeowner spoke with KRDO NewsChannel 13 Monday and implied that he was concerned about Brown being in a gang, and feared retaliation from other gang members.
Authorities said they have not found a gang connection with Brown so far.
"It was super important," said Sgt. Megan Richards, of the Sheriff's Office. "Without (the homeowner), I don't know if we would have found (the suspect) right away because we were searching in the area but (the homeowner) saw the police activity and went to check his property, found the person and notified us that he was in there."
Justin Huff, who lives across the street from the homeowner, saw some of the activity.
"I saw the (suspect) laying on the ground and I saw the neighbor, and as I walked out there the police were all rushing down the street, and then took the suspect."
A stolen truck Brown drove and abandoned was in front of the home of another neighbor, Tonya Wolf.
"I think (the homeowner's involvement) is awesome," she said. "We have a lot of gun owners in this neighborhood. So it's great. He didn't shoot him. He just held him until the officers came."
Some witnesses said they were told authorities also were also looking for a weapon, possibly a .50 handgun, but Richards didn't confirm that, nor did she confirm some reports that Brown has previously been seen acting suspiciously in the neighborhood.
Neighbors said they don't know the homeowner well because he and his wife only recently moved to the neighborhood along Natalie Street, just outside the Canon City limits.
Richards said authorities don't necessarily advise citizens to do what the homeowner did.
"If it comes down to protecting your life and your property when they're threatened, do what you're comfortable with," she said.
Richards said the homeowner's actions technically are not a citizen's arrest because "we were right there, just seconds away, when we learned where he was."
A woman who said she is Brown's ex-wife sent a text message to KRDO NewsChannel 13 on Monday evening.
"In no way, shape or form do I condone (his) actions," she wrote. "Sadly, I've had to sit our five-year-old son down and have a talk with him about what his father did, and that it was wrong. Chris was once a good guy and it's sad he went down the path he has chosen. I have not spoken with him or seen him since November. Please express to the community that I do apologize for his behavior."
More details about Brown and an apparent accomplice, Rickie Dean Lopez, 49, of Pueblo, were unavailable Monday. Both are suspected of attempting to break into locked storage units on Drake Street.
Two men from Pueblo lead Fremont deputies on car chases after reports of trespassing.
Deputies responded to a call on Friday that two men were attempting to break into storage units along Drake Street, just outside Canon City limits. When the deputies arrived the two men left the scene in separate cars, a green SUV and a blue truck.
Rickie Dean Lopez, 49, was driving the green SUV and Christopher Brown, 34, was in the blue truck.
Deputies made contact with Lopez first at the intersection of High and Orchard.
Deputies continued to chase Brown and made contact with him in his car in the 1300 block of Natalie, but Brown fled, running through yards and climbing over fences.
The truck Brown was driving was reported stolen from Tennessee.
Fremont deputies, Canon City Police, CCPD K9 officer and K9 Duke searched the scene for Brown. A homeowner in the area found Brown on his property and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
Both suspects are being held at the Fremont County Detention Center.
Lopez is charged with driving under restraint and is being held on a $500 bond.
Brown is being charged with driving under restraint, aggravated motor theft, obstructing a peace officer, reckless engagement, resisting arrest, eluding police, possession of drug paraphernalia and is being held on no bond.