"We had three subjects apparently with full automatic AK-47 rifles and they've already taken the life of a fellow officer in our community, and we have two more that have been wounded. And they are out there somewhere," Officer Jim Spratlen told CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.
Dale Claxton, a Cortez, Colo., policeman, was shot dead in his car Friday after stopping three white men in a stolen truck. The violence sparked a wild car chase, with the suspects spraying hundreds of bullets, hitting seven different police cars.
"I was responding to officers in distress, and at that time they had stolen another vehicle and approached me and began firing at me," said Joey Chavez of the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department.
The Hovenweep National Park in Utah was shut down, and children in a Colorado school were evacuated.
"I'm scaredÂ…there's no place you can live anymore that's safe," said parent Cheryl Marsell.
The search parties working the rugged territory are using national guard helicopters equipped with infrared sensors.
Despite the roadblocks, the suspects were believed to be on foot.
"I'm hoping we are all going to go home, and the bad guys are going to go to jail," said Ray Shupe of the Durango Police Department.
With one officer dead and two others wounded, people who live in the area said if they slept at all Saturday night, it would be with loaded guns at their bedsides.