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Denver police step up manhunt for inmate who escaped on way to hospital

By
Sommer Brokaw

March 26 (UPI) -- Colorado authorities expanded the search Monday for a man they say tried to kill a police officer last year -- and escaped on the way to a hospital last week.

Officials said this is the second time Mauricio Venzor-Gonzales has escaped from authorities.

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"We are seeking the communities' help for information," Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

The search for Venzor-Gonzales began last week after he escaped en route to a Denver hospital -- and mistakenly led to the shooting of two people, investigators said.

The shooting occurred when officers thought they spotted Venzor-Gonzales, 23, in an SUV they say refused to stop for police.

"The officers were acting on information provided to them that Venzor-Gonzales was in the passenger seat. They believed that to be him. Their actions were based on that belief and based on his criminal history past of being an attempted murdered. That justifies their actions," Cmdr. Barb Archer said. "It ultimately turned out to not be [him]."

The driver died from his injuries and the passenger was treated for his injuries and jailed on outstanding warrants.

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Prior to his escape, Venzor-Gonzales was held on charges of trying to kill a Denver police officer last November. He was also accused of abducting his girlfriend and their 1-year-old baby last year. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing last week, but escaped the day before.

The reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest is $10,000.

"He is considered armed and dangerous," Denver police tweeted.

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