Police confirm attempted robbery preceded fatal officer-involved shooting

Man killed identified as 43-year-old New Castle resident

A Colorado Department of Transportation worker stands watch during detour route traffic control on U.S. Highway 6 Saturday afternoon, after police closed Interstate 70 in both directions during the officer-involved shooting investigation.
Matthew Bennett/Post Independent

A New Castle Police officer shot and killed an armed man Saturday after he fled the scene of an attempted robbery in Glenwood Springs, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Monday.

Garfield County Coroner Rob Glassmire identified the man as Eric Reynolds, 43, a New Castle resident.

The autopsy conducted Monday showed that Reynolds was shot multiple times, but Glassmire declined to say how many gunshot wounds there were.

“The autopsy did reveal there were multiple gunshot wounds. However, only one gunshot wound was fatal,” Glassmire said in a statement.

Eric Reynolds. (Department of Corrections photo)

According to Garfield County Sheriff’s spokesman Walt Stowe, the man had fled the Azteca West store in West Glenwood Springs after an attempted robbery around 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Reynolds entered El Azteca, walked straight to the counter, and robbed an employee at gunpoint, store owner Salvador Barragan said Monday.

Barragan, who owns two Azteca stores in Glenwood Springs, said he wasn’t at the West Glenwood location at the time of the robbery.

“He entered the store (and) went straight to the robbery,” Barragan said.

Besides the employee at the counter, no one else was in the store at the time of the robbery, he said.

“I believe he was probably just waiting for everybody to be out so he could go in,” Barragan said.

Based on information gathered by Glenwood Springs Police officers, who responded to the reported robbery at Azteca, law enforcement located the suspect’s car traveling west on Interstate 70, and tried to stop the vehicle.

The man fled that traffic stop, and New Castle Police picked up the pursuit of the vehicle. At some point, the suspect vehicle began traveling against the flow of traffic, according to information from the sheriff’s office.

“The pursuit ended with the suspect vehicle traveling east in the westbound lanes of I-70,” Stowe said in a statement. “He ultimately lost control and crashed.”

Reynolds attempted to flee “and allegedly brandished a weapon,” Stowe said.

“The suspect, who refused to obey officer commands, was ultimately shot by New Castle Police officers,” Stowe said.

The man “was treated at the scene and unfortunately was pronounced deceased a short time afterwards,” New Castle Police Chief Tony Pagni said in a statement.

A woman who was with the male suspect surrendered without incident, Stowe said.

Two New Castle Police officers are currently on administrative leave following the incident, Pagni said, but one officer will return to duty soon.

I-70 was closed for several hours during the incident, and traffic was diverted to U.S. Highway 6 between the New Castle and Canyon Creek exits.

According to court records, Reynolds has spent time in the Department of Corrections for multiple felonies, including an Aspen apartment burglary in 2015. 

The inter-agency 9th Judicial District Critical Incident Team, which looks into fatal shootings involving law enforcement within the district, has opened an investigation into the incident.

The Critical Incident Team asks that anyone who saw the Saturday incident, or has information related to it, contact the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office on the non-emergency dispatch line, 970-625-8095.

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