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Brighton Police: Suspect In Stolen Vehicle Arrested After 2 Bystanders Killed

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) - Brighton police say a suspect in a stolen vehicle hit and killed two people during a chase on Tuesday. Police say they were first called to the area near Gaviota and Goldfinch Streets at around 11 a.m. for a report of a suspicious vehicle.

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They say the suspect rammed a responding officer's vehicle. Another officer turned on their lights and tried to stop the vehicle. They say the suspect sped away, and the officer followed.

The suspect then reportedly ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle. A female passenger in the bystander vehicle was ejected. She was taken to the hospital where she died.

Police say the suspect continued and hit a pedestrian on Mt. Bierstadt Street. The male victim died at the hospital.

The Adams County Coroner has identified the victims as 25-year-old Gustavo Mosqueda Ortega of Montrose and 21-year-old Dulce Castro Perez of Hudson.

"We pray for the families of those innocent victims, the person driving that truck," said neighbor John Norris. "They were just probably running errands."

The pursuit, police say, lasted two minutes until officers arrested 25-year-old Nicholas Vilarina.  He suffered serious injuries, as did a female passenger. It's not clear if that female was arrested.

"This has been a very tough day for people in our community. People going about their every day lives were lost to us today," said Chief Paul Southard.

This is the second time Brighton police officers have pursued a suspect this week. A chase of driver in a stolen car on Monday ended in a rollover crash on I-76 at Sable Boulevard.

The department's policy on vehicle pursuits states officers can initiate a pursuit when a suspect represents a grave, imminent threat to the community. In a press conference streamed on Facebook Tuesday, Chief Southard did not say whether this situation applied Tuesday, though he said his officers do not pursue for property crimes, non-violent crimes, or traffic offenses.

"It would be difficult to say right now," Southard said "I'd rather let the investigation play out before i make any comments about that."

Southard said the officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave.

The 17th Judicial District Critical Incident Investigation Team and the North Metro Accident Investigation Team will be investigating the circumstances surrounding the pursuit and subsequent crash, a city release said.

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