WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A man from Brighton is suspected of randomly firing on workers at an oil and gas site. The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is actively searching for 31-year-old Tyler James Van Auken. Investigators say someone fired shots from a moving car on Monday afternoon, near Weld County roads 6 and 29, north of Brighton.
The sheriff’s office has secured an arrest warrant for Van Auken on suspicion of menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, both felonies, and driving after revocation, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment, which are misdemeanors.
Employees reported someone driving by in a white SUV had fired multiple rounds at them and their equipment. Investigators say the crew foreman chased the SUV and caught up with it when Van Auken pulled over to urinate. The foreman was able to take two pictures with his cellphone of Van Auken and the vehicle before the suspect sped away.
The vehicle was later identified as a white Chevy Trailblazer with a Denver Broncos sticker on the left side of the tailgate and Colorado license plate UQY-913.
Investigators identified the registered owner and later interviewed her. She is not being identified due to her cooperation in the investigation. She told detectives Van Auken was driving her Trailblazer while intoxicated and decided it would be fun to fire randomly out the window. The owner also consented to a search of her vehicle, but investigators were unable to find the suspected firearm.
“Our investigators have spoken to Van Auken on the phone, but he is not yet cooperating,” Joe Moylan, Public Information Officer for the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, told CBS4.
The Investigations Unit is actively searching for Van Auken is believed to be hiding out somewhere in the Denver metro area.
Anyone with information about the suspect or Monday’s shooting is asked to call Det. Anthony Simmons at (970) 400-5376 or Investigations Sgt. Aaron Walker at (970) 400-2856. Reference case number 20W014722