Suspect in West Rifle I-70 standoff Tuesday identified
The man arrested by Garfield County authorities Tuesday following a 3-1/2 hour standoff with police that resulted in the closure of Interstate 70 and U.S. 6 west of Rifle has been identified as Justin Lopez Madrid.
Madrid, 38, was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and transported to the Garfield County Jail. Madrid faces charges including felony second-degree assault, attempted murder and tampering with evidence, as well as several misdemeanors for resisting arrest, obstructing police and emergency personnel, reckless endangerment and violation of a restraining order.
No shots were fired and no one was injured during the standoff between Rifle and Rulison, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities closed I-70 and Highway 6 near West Rifle for more than three hours to respond to the potentially armed suspect, Sheriff’s spokesman Walt Stowe said.
Law enforcement officers initially responded to reports of a stabbing near the I-70 exit into West Rifle, around 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Madrid appeared to have taken cover in the rocks on the hillside. Because of the possibility he might have had a firearm, first responders chose to shut down I-70, fearing a catastrophic event if gunfire were exchanged so close to the interstate, Stowe said in a press release. Sheriff’s officials have not indicated whether Madrid in fact had a firearm at the time of the incident.
Eastbound I-70 was closed between MM 81 (Rulison) to MM 87 (West Rifle). I-70 westbound was closed at the West Rifle exit, according to a Garfield 9-1-1 alert that went out late Tuesday morning. Highway 6 was closed both directions at West Rifle.
After attempting to communicate with Madrid verbally, the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team SWAT unit was dispatched and successfully brought the person down from the hillside around 2:30 p.m. Shortly afterward, eastbound I-70 and Highway 6 were reopened.
Early reports indicated the suspect might have had a knife wound when he fled up the hill near the interstate. Neither the suspect nor the response team sustained any injuries in the operation on the hillside, the sheriff’s department said.
Emergency medical staff from St. Mary’s Care Flight was at the scene but ultimately were not needed, according to the sheriff’s department. After emergency vehicles were cleared from the interstate, westbound I-70 was reopened.
Garfield Sheriff’s officials are investigating what led Madrid to flee up the hillside. The Sheriff’s department has not provided further information as to what led to the initial confrontation.
In addition to the Sheriff’s Office, the incident involved numerous law enforcement personnel, including the Colorado State Patrol, police departments of Rifle and Parachute, the Crisis Negotiation Team, Colorado River Fire Rescue, Grand Valley Fire, and agents of the Department of Transportation.