Three Colorado teens are facing murder charges after they allegedly hurled a landscaping rock through a windshield of a moving car, killing a young woman just outside of Denver.
Her car was the last in a series of vehicles struck by the rocks over a 45-minute period that night – a string of vandalism Jefferson County investigators are calling a “rock spree homicide.”
Before Bartell was killed, six other cars in the area had rocks thrown at them, according to the sheriff’s office. In two of those incidents the drivers suffered minor injuries.
Joseph Koenig, Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak, all 18, were taken into custody at their homes Tuesday and Wednesday, authorities said in a news release. All three are suspected of throwing the rocks and each have been charged with first degree murder with extreme indifference to human life.
The three boys are 12th graders from Jefferson County Public Schools, sheriff’s spokesperson Jacki Kelley told NBC News.
“The rocks that we have described in this crime series are all about 4 to 6 inches in size and about 3 to 5 pounds a piece. They’re large boulder landscaping rocks,” Kelley explained, adding that they believe the truck the teens were riding in was travelling in an opposite direction of the victims’.
Investigators said they are not sure which of the teenagers was driving during the spree but said the suspect vehicle is a black 2016 Chevy Silverado.
Nathan Tipton, a Lyft and Uber driver, told ABC News earlier this week that he was one of the victims of the crime spree. He said he was driving in the area that night when he heard what “sounded like a shotgun blast.”
He pulled to the side of the road and couldn’t determine what caused his driver-side window to shatter. Chalking it up to wind damage, he headed for home.
However, as he drove, he spoke with his wife who mentioned that the news was reporting a woman had been killed by a rock that was thrown through her windshield.
Tipton told the outlet no one was on the side of the road at the time his car was struck and he believes the object was thrown from a car driving in the other direction.