Update: Alexander West Held on $1M for Attempted Murder of Deputy

 The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has announced the name of the suspect in a May 5 incident during which a deputy was struck by a robbery suspect attempting to flee; see our previous coverage below.

The man in custody is Alexander West, 25 — and authorities in Arapahoe County are serious about keeping him behind bars.

His bail has been set at $1 million.

In addition, the ACSO has added new details to its account about what happened in the parking lot of a shopping complex at 5050 East Arapahoe Road.

Around 12:30 a.m. on the 5th, the sheriff's office maintains, deputies were dispatched in relation to a possible armed robbery at a liquor store in the complex.

Upon their arrival, they "attempted to contact a suspect vehicle" parked nearby. Seconds later, the ride rabbited, then weaved through the lot, striking a deputy who was on foot, the ACSO maintains.

At that point, another deputy fired a shot at West's vehicle and apparently hit him. The sheriff's office doesn't specify West's wound or wounds, but since he's now behind bars, his hospitalization wasn't lengthy. First aid was provided at the scene, though

As for the deputy, he didn't suffer life-threatening injuries. Because investigators have concluded that West intentionally tried to hit the deputy, however, the expected charges against him include attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, as well as first-degree assault, second-degree assault on a peace officer, second-degree assault causing injury with a deadly weapon (the car), false reporting and violent crime — used a weapon (the car again).

One accusation that's missing from this rundown: robbery. The ACSO acknowledges that "an armed robbery did not occur at the liquor store," raising questions about what exactly West was doing prior to his interactions with police.

In the meantime, the deputy who fired the shot remains on administrative leave amid an investigation into the matter, per standard procedure.

Here's a larger look at West's booking photo, followed by our previous coverage.

Original post, 5:49 a.m. May 5: Back in January, we noted that the death of Jessie Hernandez, a seventeen-year-old shot and killed by Denver Police Department officers while she was behind the wheel of a stolen car, resulted in a new focus on law enforcers shooting into moving vehicles.

The rationale for doing so? In such cases, officers maintain, cars can become weapons.

Expect to hear this argument applied to a new case: Overnight, a robbery suspect was shot after he allegedly used his vehicle to strike an Arapahoe County deputy.

The location of the incident was a shopping complex at 5050 East Arapahoe Road in Centennial.

The area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."

A pair of Arapahoe County deputies reportedly arrived on the scene  at approximately 12:30 a.m. this morning in response to a robbery call at a liquor store in the complex.

There, two deputies attempted to stop a suspect in a car, but before they could do so, he's said to have struck one of them.

At that point, the second deputy fired a single shot at the driver.

Both the driver and the deputy were subsequently hospitalized. The deputy sustained non-life-threatening injuries. There's no word on the suspect's condition.

Here's one of the first tweets from the scene, courtesy of 9News' Noel Brennan.... well as this followup offering a look at the suspect's vehicle and a note about impact with a concrete pillar:

It's far too early for charges. But if the suspect survives and prosecutors determine that he was purposefully trying to injure the deputy, attempted murder allegations are certainly possible.

However, such incidents can be complicated to decode, as is clear from a separate incident in Sheridan involving Ismael Rayos, a suspect who's still on the loose as of this writing.

On April 26, according to a Metro Denver Crime Stoppers alert distributed by the Sheridan Police Department, Rayos was contacted by cops "after being reported as acting suspiciously at a local business." He then provided false information about his identity, the release continues, after which he jumped into his car and tried to split.

As he did so, the Sheridan officer was trapped between the driver's-side door, which was open, and the driver's seat area, and when Rayos began backing up, the officer was dragged, as seen in this surveillance video.

Assault in Sheridan from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

Rayos later crashed the car in Denver and managed to get away. But at this point, the authorities in Sheridan aren't considering attempted homicide charges against him. Instead, Rayos is being sought for first- and second-degree assault and eluding.

In any event, the Sheridan officer didn't open fire on Rayos — but an Arapahoe County deputy in the Centennial liquor-store case did last night, with thus far unknown consequences.

Meanwhile, Sheridan police encourage anyone with information about Rayos's whereabouts to contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867), which is offering a reward of up to $2,000 in the matter.

Look below to see a 7News piece about the latest incident, followed by a photo of Rayos.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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