On February 5, 2018, members of a multi-agency auto theft task force, comprised of detectives from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Springs Police Department, and the Colorado State Patrol, were conducting undercover surveillance and tracking operations when they were alerted of a stolen vehicle moving through the Colorado Springs and unincorporated El Paso County area.
The task force began tracking and following the stolen vehicle that was occupied by a male suspect. The suspect drove the car to several locations, attempting to disguise it with spray paint. After a few hours of tracking the vehicle, the taskforce observed it parked at an apartment complex in Colorado Springs. A two-person arrest team approached the suspect on foot in the apartment complex. As they contacted the suspect, a struggle ensued. The suspect drew a handgun and began firing wildly in rapid succession.
Shots fired by the suspect penetrated an adjacent occupied apartment building, striking and seriously injuring Officer Marcus Yanez who received a gunshot wound to the groin, narrowly missed other taskforce members, but hit and paralyzed a civilian bystander. Although seriously wounded, Officer Yanez remained in the fight and returned fire along with the other taskforce members, ending the violent assault by the suspect. The suspect was fatally wounded in the exchange.
Each of the taskforce members acted bravely in carrying out their duties, and Officer Yanez particularly distinguished himself by staying engaged in the fight, returning accurate fire and helping to end the violent assault by the suspect.