A husband and wife were held at gunpoint during an attempted kidnapping in Jefferson County, Colorado, on 17 June but managed to escape the harrowing ordeal after another hiker called the authorities.
The couple was hiking close to Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood in southwest Denver at about 8am on Friday when they came across a man who was tying his shoe when he suddenly pulled out a gun, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office told reporters.
Words were exchanged before the suspect ordered the woman to the ground.
“The suspect had something that’s been described to me like either a leash or a rope, put that around the woman’s neck and led them away from the trailhead,” sheriff spokesperson Jacki Kelley said, according to ABC News.
A fellow hiker saw what was happening and called 911, remaining on the phone to describe what was taking place until law enforcement got to the scene, she added. The husband managed to remove the firearm from the suspect before police arrived.
“We’re very grateful for that original call because it had us going very quickly to this area,” Ms Kelley said.
Law enforcement first found the hikers and then the suspect, who reportedly took out a weapon that was found to be a stun gun and aimed it at the officers, Ms Kelley added. She said one deputy discharged his firearm, but missed the suspect, as another officer hit him with a Taser.
The suspect has been identified as Kerry Endsley, 73. He said he was injured, likely due to being struck with the Taser.
The sheriff’s office said the couple understood that they knew the suspect during the ongoing abduction attempt. Because his appearance had changed, they didn’t recognise him at first. He has previously harassed the woman. The sheriff’s office said this is supported by previous police reports and a restraining order.
Mr Endsley was arrested and charged with second-degree kidnapping, felony menacing, and violation of a restraining order. His motives and intentions are under investigation.
“This is alarming, there is no question about it,” Ms Kelley said. “We have two victims who are shaken up and a witness who is pretty upset about what he witnessed this morning.”
“There’s not enough thanks to an independent witness who called 911 right away,” Ms Kelley said. “We don’t know how this was going to go. We don’t know what this suspect’s agenda was. But thank God for the witness being where he was and the quick action and staying on the phone with us.”