Glenwood cops’ bizarre encounter with a murder suspect on his way to Vegas with 1,000 rounds of ammo
The Glenwood Springs’ police stop late Wednesday of Craig Allen Vandewege shows the risk that officers face on even a speeding stop — in this case, of a man now charged with two killings who told a co-worker he heard voices telling him to kill people and who had four guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his car.
Police had been tipped that the man driving a car that matched the description of the one they pulled over for speeding on Grand Avenue had been talking about a killing and about being on the run, but Vandewege was calm, cooperative and even tempered, officers wrote in reports.
Glenwood officers were on the alert after watching the man stop and take a license plate out of the Hyundai’s trunk and screw it onto the rear plate holder. Then, they spotted a rifle in the back seat.
But it wasn’t until an internet search of his name during the traffic stop that officers realized they had just pulled over someone involved in a double murder investigation in Texas.
Police were tipped to Vandewege after he went into the Glenwood Springs 7-Eleven on Grand and the clerk overheard him on the phone say that he was on the run from the police.
Vandewege in fact told police, “It’s been a long week, my wife and kid were murdered in Texas.” Officers thought he was oddly unemotional about it. His wife, Shanna Riddle Vandewege, 36, and 3-month-old son, Diederik, had been found slain, their throats cut, in their Fort Worth home on Dec. 15.
Craig Vandewege’s lack of emotion and driving a car with no plates were just two of the odd behaviors Glenwood officers noted in narrative reports on the traffic stop.
They asked why he was driving without plates, and he said that his attorney advised him to leave Texas and that if he did not have plates on his car, he would not get pulled over.
His reason for being in Colorado was that he was here to bury his wife and son, he said, but later, when asked what brought him to Glenwood Springs, he said that he was on his way to Las Vegas.
When police searched him, they found a wedding ring in his right front coin pocket and two condoms in his main right pocket.
He also told police he had been informed by his parents during one of his calls from 7-Eleven that three people had been arrested in the slaying of his wife and child.
But a Fort Worth arrest affidavit said that he told the man at the 7-Eleven that the government was trying to conspire against him by saying that he had killed his family. “Craig Vandewege said he was headed to Las Vegas to see Donald Trump to work it out with him,” homicide Detective Matt Barron wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Upon being told to get out of his car in Glenwood, he refused, a response he repeated several times. Eventually he turned to the officer and asked, “Be honest, am I being arrested?” Told that he was, for speeding and not having valid proof of insurance, he took a deep breath and agreed to get out.
Officers asked if he had any knives, to which he responded that he’s “not a knife guy.”
He was, though, a gun guy.
Police found a gun in an ankle holster in his right boot, a gun in the right front pocket of his coat, and an AR-15-like rifle in the back seat. The handguns were loaded. He told police he planned to do some shooting the next day to “get rid of some stress.” He had a concealed carry permit from Weld County, having moved from Denver to Fort Worth earlier in the year.
After taking Vandewege to jail and police impounded the car, they found 1,000 rounds of .233-caliber ammunition for the AR-15, along with other miscellaneous ammo.
After he was in jail, police contacted Fort Worth police and learned that Vandewege had not been ruled out as a suspect in the deaths.
Still, he was about to bond out of jail Thursday afternoon when the capital murder warrant came through and Fort Worth police let local authorities know they should keep him in jail.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Friday that Vandewege had told a co-worker recently that he was taking a new medication that makes him hear voices telling him to kill people, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Several bottles of unspecified medication were found in his car, Glenwood police reports said.
The co-worker told investigators that he also once remarked that he wished he could kill his then-pregnant wife by pushing her down the stairs. And a few days before Shanna and 3-month-old Diederik were found dead, Craig recounted a dream in which he “sliced the heads of his wife and father like bologna,” the co-worker told Fort Worth police.
Funeral services for his wife and son are planned for Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the school gymnasium in Walsh, Colorado, a town of about 500 in Baca County in extreme southeastern Colorado, according to an obituary notice. Shanna Vandewege used to work at a health-care facility there.
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