Aurora man sentenced to 23.5 years in federal prison for shooting Rocky Mountain National Park ranger | USAO-CO | Media Pyro


DENVER – Darron Markwell Ellis, 29, of Aurora, was sentenced today to 23.5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty earlier to attempted second-degree murder and pointing a firearm at a federal officer, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced today. During a violent crime.

According to the lawsuit in the case, on Dec. 8, 2021, Darron Markwell Ellis was caught by law enforcement when a Colorado State Patrol trooper attempted to stop a speeding vehicle on Highway 34 in Larimer County. Ellis first stopped the car and got out without being asked. Trooper instructed Ellis to get back in the car and discussed with him the reason for the stop. Troopers realized the car’s license plate had been stolen. The trooper asked Elise to get out of the car. At that point, Ellis sped away at high speeds on winding mountain roads. The trooper followed the vehicle for a short time before terminating the pursuit.

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) rangers from dispatch received information that the car was involved and that the car was on its way to the RMNP. A law enforcement ranger with the National Park Service was on duty that day in his regular uniform. The ranger received information, got into his law enforcement patrol vehicle and waited near the Fall River entrance to RMNP.

At approximately 10:15 a.m., the ranger observed a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description enter RMNP. As soon as the Ranger spotted the car, he activated his emergency lights. By then, the suspect’s vehicle attempted to avoid the ranger by driving onto the shoulder of the road and stopped after hitting several rocks within the boundaries of the RMNP.

As the Ranger got out of his marked law enforcement vehicle, he drew his duty pistol and ordered the occupants of the car to show their hands. At that point, unprovoked, Ellis began firing at the Ranger with a 9 mm semi-automatic hand gun. Ellis shot Ranger in the left side of his body in an area protected by Ranger’s ballistic vest. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Evidence Response Team later found that a bullet had entered the rear driver’s side column of the Ranger’s vehicle at the same location where the Ranger had moved to take cover. Ellis fired multiple rounds at Ranger and remained in the car the entire time he fired at Ranger. Knowing his life was in danger, law enforcement officers returned fire, striking Ellis. Ellis eventually surrendered and was taken into custody. The ranger had a bruise about 10 inches in diameter on the left side of his chest where he had been shot.

“Attempting to shoot and kill a peace officer is a particularly serious crime that is punishable by federal prison,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finnegan. “We wish the National Park Service ranger the best as he continues to recover from this incident.”

“Any assault against a federal officer deserves the attention of the FBI, and officers from FBI Denver were immediately dispatched to this incident in Rocky Mountain National Park,” said FBI Denver Acting Special Agent in Charge Matthew Fodor. A National Park Service ranger performed his duties with dignity and courage when the gunman attacked. We are proud to assist in this prosecution and to see this perpetrator brought to justice.

According to Rocky Mountain National Park Superintendent Darla Siddles, “Today’s sentencing brings an important resolution to the attempted murder of one of our valued law enforcement officers in Rocky Mountain National Park and allows us to focus on healing. We owe it to this ranger and all National Park Service law enforcement rangers who sometimes have to deal with serious crimes that don’t stop at park boundaries. We extend our deepest appreciation to all involved in the investigation and securing this conviction, including the NPS Rangers, the FBI, the Estes Park Police Department, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the team of prosecuting attorneys.

Judge Raymond P. Moore sentenced Ellis on October 31, 2022. He also sentenced Ellis to 5 years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Division and the National Park Service. The prosecution was handled by the Violent Crime and Immigration Enforcement Division of the US Attorney’s Office.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On 26 May 2021, the Department launched its Violent Crime Reduction Strategy, which will strengthen the PSN based on these core principles: build trust and legitimacy in our communities, support community-based organizations that help prevent violence, and be focused and strategic. Implementation priorities and results measurement.

Case number: 22-cr-00006


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