FOUNTAIN, Colo – Earlier this year the Department of Corrections Parole Unit in Colorado sought assistance from Fountain Police Department in locating a carjacking suspect from the Pueblo area who had active felony warrants. While engaging the suspect in a foot chase, a police officer fell about 40 feet from a bridge and later died. Now the offender has been charged with murder.
Officer Julian Becerra of the Fountain Police Department ultimately fell to his death while police engaged in a chase involving 32-year-old Devon Bobian. The defendant — who is being held at the Bent County Correctional Facility for a previous sentence — has been formally charged with one count of second-degree felony murder in addition to two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of vehicular eluding, one count of motor vehicle theft, and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Law&Crime succinctly described Colorado’s felony murder statute as follows: “Felony murder is a criminal offense that occurs when a person commits or attempts to commit a felony and their actions in pursuit of that felony crime result in the death of another person. Whether the alleged felon intended or directly caused the other person’s death is not relevant for charging felony murder, provided that the death was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the felony being committed.”
The tragic series of events began at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Feb. 2 when the DOC Parole Unit sought assistance from Fountain Police in locating a carjacking suspect who had active felony warrants, Law Officer previously reported.
In a Feb. 3 press release, the Fountain Police Department provided the following overview:
The vehicle was believed to be northbound on I-25 from Pueblo. Several law enforcement agencies in the region were assisting with locating the vehicle that was determined to be stolen. The vehicle tracking led officers into Colorado Springs jurisdiction near the Citadel Mall, at which point Colorado Springs Police Department Tactical Unit began to assist in locating the suspects.
At approximately 5:30 PM, the stolen vehicle was seen by officers near Lowes near North Academy and Platte Avenue. Because of the reckless actions of the suspect driving the vehicle, officers were unable to safely maintain the visual contact. It is believed the suspects were attempting to steal another vehicle at Lowe’s, but officers were unable to confirm that information due to losing visual contact with the vehicle.
At 7:15 PM, the vehicle was located again, southbound on I-25 heading towards the City of Fountain. The vehicle was eventually tracked to the area of Highway 85 and Alegre Circle where Fountain Police Department (FPD) located the vehicle occupied by three suspects. Officers attempted several tactical vehicle interventions to stop the vehicle (TVI) but were unsuccessful. The vehicle was followed south on Highway 85 through the City of Fountain where the suspect vehicle entered the interstate traveling south in the northbound lanes. Due to the dangerous actions of the suspects, officers disengaged and stopped following the vehicle, terminating the pursuit due to excessive speeds and the extreme risk to the public.
Officers attempted to prevent northbound traffic on I-25 at mile marker 126 when they learned the vehicle made a U-turn and was traveling north in the northbound lanes. Officers that were set up on stationary, perimeter positions observed the vehicle pull into the Love’s Travel Plaza, located in the 5500 block of Travel Plaza Drive. Officers witnessed the suspects attempt to commit another armed, carjacking of a community member in the Love’s parking lot.
Based on numerous violent felonies continuing to be committed and the extreme risk to the public, officers were forced to reengage the suspects and attempt to apprehend them to prevent the loss of life or serious bodily injury to the public. At approximately 7:45 PM, officers continued to pursue the suspect vehicle northbound on I-25.
The suspect vehicle exited I-25 at South Academy, mile marker 135, where a tire deflation device was used to disable the vehicle. The vehicle was partially disabled but continued to elude officers eastbound on South Academy.
FPD Officers performed a TVI on the suspect vehicle on South Academy just east of Hartford Street. The driver jumped out of the vehicle and began to run from officers on foot. While officers were trying to apprehend the suspect, an FPD Officer fell over the bridge and landed 40 feet below. The suspect attempted to jump off the bridge to elude officers at which time the officers grabbed him to prevent his escape and fall. As the suspect was hanging over the bridge he repeatedly stated, “let me go, I want to die.” The officers were able to pull him up to safety and place him into custody without incident.
A total of three suspects were taken into custody and booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. The two male suspects, listed below, were arrested on active felony warrants along with additional felony charges related to this incident. The female listed below was arrested on numerous felony charges. It is believed at the conclusion of the investigation there will be additional charges filed.
One of suspects, who was the driver of the stolen vehicle, was later identified as 31-year-old Devon Bobian of Pueblo. The other two suspects, who were occupants of the stolen vehicle, were identified as 28-year-old Danisha Pacheco of Pueblo, and 32-year-old Anthony Vallejos also of Pueblo.
The Fountain Police Officer injured in this incident is Officer Julian Becerra. Officer Becerra has been employed as sworn officer with the Fountain Police Department for 4 ½ years and is currently assigned to the Patrol Division as a K9 Officer.
Becerra was subsequently airlifted to Memorial Central Hospital and placed in the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on Feb. 11, Law Officer previously reported.
Although the standard bond amount for a second-degree felony murder charge under Colorado law is $50,000, due to Bobian’s criminal history and the severity of the new charges, his bond was been set for $2 million, cash only, according to Law&Crime.
Bobian has previously been convicted of four felonies. Two months prior to Becerra’s death, police said the violent offender escaped from a community corrections facility and had an active warrant out for his arrest, KRDO reported.
“I am incredibly proud of the hard work our Investigations Division put into this case,” said Sheriff Joe Roybal. “The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office consistently demonstrates an unwavering commitment to any investigation. Our hearts continue to go out to Officer Becerra’s family and the members of the Fountain Police Department.”
Becerra was also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his wife, an 8-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.