A Jefferson County sheriff's deputy, assisted by motorists, captured a previously armed carjacking suspect Wednesday afternoon in the middle of Interstate 70 near the Genesee exit.

Television helicopter footage showed the suspect wrestled to the ground in a traffic lane by Deputy Fred Haggett to end a short, dramatic manhunt.

The arrest came after a flurry of carjackings by the man and a female suspect, who was also arrested.

The two also attempted to break into one home, and, after they were separated, the man broke into another home and stole an SUV.

The series of events began about 2:40 p.m. when a sheriff's deputy stopped a man and woman acting suspiciously while driving a white Ford Crown Victoria that appeared to be an unmarked patrol car, said spokeswoman Jacki Kelley.

The car sped off as the deputy returned to his car to check the driver's information.

Thirty minutes later, the suspects stopped a couple who were headed to see Buffalo Bill's grave on Lookout Mountain and stole their Subaru Outback at gunpoint.

Twenty minutes later, the suspects knocked on the door of a home and asked to be let in, telling the owner that they had been in an accident. The homeowner called 911 and the couple broke a window into the home.

About 4 p.m., a sheriff's deputy reported that shots were fired while he was searching for the Subaru Outback, sought in connection with the carjacking, on Mount Vernon Canyon Road on Lookout Mountain.


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The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that deputies were seeking a male and a female suspect and that the man was armed with a rifle and a handgun.

At one point the suspects ditched the Subaru Outback and stole a white truck from near Mount Vernon Country Club, Kelley said.

A television helicopter arrived on the scene at the request of the sheriff's office, and its video showed the armed man walking through the woods, followed by the woman. The man was wearing a black tank top and a dark cap, while the woman was dressed in black and carrying a backpack.

The woman apparently became separated from the man and the sheriff's office announced on Twitter about 4:15 p.m. that she was in custody.

The man, meanwhile, briefly entered the cabs of two dump trucks parked at a highway-maintenance facility on Rockland Road.

Then, about 4:17 p.m., video from the helicopter showed him entering a nearby home.

After a brief pause, a silver SUV crashed out through the closed garage door.

The suspect drove the SUV down a road near I-70 but abandoned it when the road came to a dead end.

Armed and on foot, he walked over to the interstate and tried to flag down cars. Although some cars slowed, none stopped.

As a deputy approached with his gun drawn, the suspect dropped his weapons but backed away from the deputy into the westbound lanes of the interstate. He broke into a run, but the deputy successfully grabbed him by his tank top and threw him to the roadway.

One motorist approached and helped the deputy by grabbing the suspect's legs until additional deputies arrived.

Westbound I-70 was closed during the investigation but was reopened about 5:30 p.m.

Kelley credited a collaboration with local television media who were following the suspects by helicopter, the help of motorists and the department's ability to deploy more deputies than usual.

"Wednesday is a training day, so we have more deputies on duty," Kelley said. "We were able to deploy a lot of resources into the area very quickly."

"It was just a relentless pursuit," Kelley added. "We just continued to pursue the suspect until he eventually gave up. He just had no other choice."

Zahira Torres: 303-954-1244, ztorres@denverpost.com or twitter.com/zahiratorres