Updated: April 7, 2012 at 12:00 am
A check on a suspicious vehicle erupted in gunfire and led to a chase that left shell casings littering a wide swath of eastern Colorado Springs Saturday morning, but, amazingly, no gunshot victims despite more than two dozen bullets fired.
The incident started just after 9 a.m. when officers were called to check on a white sedan in a parking lot on the 1800 block of South Academy Boulevard.
Police tried to pull over the Honda, but the driver sped away.
Officers saw three occupants in the car before one of them opened fire with what officers described as an assault rifle. A rolling gun battle ensued, with the suspects and police trading bullets near the intersection of Astrozon and Jetwing Drive in southeast Colorado Springs.
A police car and a vehicle on the street were hit by bullets during the chase, police said.
Officers later said the car was stolen and its trio of occupants were plotting an armed robbery when police pulled up.
A frantic chase involving several police cars rolled onto Chelton Road, then Powers Boulevard. One officer told radio dispatchers that the fleeing car was ramming his cruiser.
"Our objective always is to keep the public safe," said police spokesman Larry Herbert. "The suspects chose to escalate the altercation by firing on police officers, threatening the lives of police and civilians. We had to respond."
The chase swerved through the city, with the fleeing car stopping several times and pulling through busy business parking lots.
Police tracked the trio to Powers and South Carefree Circle, where an employee in a retail strip saw the car speed through the parking lot from north to south -- the opposite direction from where it came.
Another firefight ensued near the nearby Lowe's store.
Police said two officers on foot opened fire on the Honda as it careened through business parking lots, firing four rounds.
The white sedan took off westbound on Constitution. But a police car racing in the opposite direction ended the chase.
"I think every police officer was here," said Shelly Young, an employee at Walgreens on the corner of Powers and Constitution Avenue. At one point, six or seven police cars were chasing a little white car, she said, "screaming" up and down the streets.
"I'm surprised the guy didn't hit traffic," she said.
They did: The chase ended when the suspect's small car collided with a police car and went off the road, landing on its roof in the yard of a home.
Near the corner of Rio Vista Drive, the suspects and a police car slammed head-on, ending the chase, Herbert said. The police decided to use deadly force - a police car - despite the risk to the officer to stop the suspects, he said.
A large section of Constitution and Lantana Drive was blocked off by police cars and police tape.
Resident David Smith said he heard sirens and a crash, so he went to his window and saw about 15 police cars and officers with guns drawn surrounding the wrecked car.
Two suspects were arrested near the car. One was taken to the hospital to have broken arm treated, said Herbert.
Police swarmed the neighborhood looking for a third suspect who had fled on foot. At about 10:45, police officers, some with handguns and rifles, went running down Lantana and other nearby streets, yelling at people to get inside homes.
Shortly after, the third suspect was arrested. Witnesses said residents had pointed the third suspect out to police.
The three were identified as Travis Broadway, 21, Michael Peyton, 20, and 23-year-old Parice Daily. They were held Saturday night on investigation of attempted murder of a police officer, attempted robbery and eluding police.
The two officers who fired shots during the chase have been placed on paid leave during an investigation by police and the District Attorney’s office.
Now, police are looking for witnesses who saw shots fired during the chase. They ask that witnesses call 444-7000.