Watch CBS News

Alexa Bartell murder: 3 high school seniors arrested in Colorado rock-throwing attacks

3 high school seniors arrested in Colorado rock-throwing attacks, death of Alexa Bardell
3 high school seniors arrested in Colorado rock-throwing attacks, death of Alexa Bartell 03:10

Three suspects were arrested overnight in Arvada in connection with last week's rock throwing attacks that killed 20-year-old Alexa Bartell and injured others. The suspects -- Joseph Koenig, Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak -- were arrested at their homes.

Alexa Bartell  Jefferson County

"We have a safer community this morning because of it," said Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities in Jefferson County say those arrested are all 18 year olds and all face first degree murder charges. They are seniors in high school. One attends Ralston Valley High School, one goes to Standley Lake High School in Westminster, and the other attends online school.

Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik Jefferson County
Zachary Kwak Jefferson County
Joseph Koenig Jefferson County

They will likely make their first court appearances on Thursday.

Joseph Koenig's father, Mark Koenig, was arrested the Tuesday just after 11 p.m. outside his residence for obstructing a peace officer as deputies asked Joseph Koeing to speak with investigators at the Jeffco Sheriff's Office in Golden. According to the arrest affidavit, Mark Koeing told deputies that the interview with his son could be conducted the next day and when deputies tried to secure the residence for a search warrant, he attempted to get back inside the home. 

Bartell, of Arvada, was killed late at night on April 19 when a rock crashed through her windshield as she was driving on the 10600 block of Indiana Street close to the Jefferson County and Boulder County lines. Her vehicle left the roadway and ended up in a field. She was on the phone talking to a friend when she was struck and the phone went silent.

Two other people were also hurt in earlier rock attacks that night. Seven vehicles in total were hit by what authorities now describe as "large landscaping rocks." It's believed the suspects were a in moving vehicle when the rocks were thrown. 

"These suspects went from place to place to place to place throwing large rocks through windshields of vehicles. We have not seen this before," Kelley said.

Jefferson County

The crime spree started that night shortly after 10 p.m. in Westminster at the intersection of 100th Avenue and Simms Street, just north of Standley Lake. The final attack was about 2 miles away and approximately 45 minutes later. That was the one that killed Bartell.

Investigators say the criminals were driving a black 2016 Chevy Silverado. They say they aren't sure if Koenig, Karol-Chik or Kwak was behind the wheel.

Kelley said the arrests came as a result of "cellphone device forensics and then supporting information from our public." She wouldn't elaborate on what that forensic evidence is, but she said more than 300 tips came in during the investigation.

How cellphone data tracked suspects accused of killing Alexa Bartell 03:00

"This information led us directly to them," Kelley said.

RELATED: Survivor of Colorado rock-throwing attacks speaks out: "It's horrible. Nobody should lose a child"

Initially the sheriff's office said Bartell's family was going to speak about the tragedy on Wednesday afternoon, but that news conference was canceled. Kelley said the family was grateful to learn of the arrests.


A memorial for Bartell with flowers and pinwheels now sits along a fence next to Indiana Street where she died.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.