DENVER — If you watched the dramatic video of the crime spree in Jefferson County Wednesday, you saw a man help pin the suspect to the ground after Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Fred Haggett took him down by himself.
That man is wearing a green shirt in the video. He’s school teacher John McLaughlin. He stopped and got out of his car when the deputy tackled the suspect Christopher Sullivan in the middle of westbound I-70 near Morrison.
“I hesitated and I looked around to see if there were any more policeman and they weren’t quite there yet. So I thought well I could kind of go over and just hold his legs down and help out ,” McLaughlin says.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says motorcycle deputy Fred Haggett was the lone officer who tackled the armed suspect on the freeway.
“I make the analogy with sports: Once it’s ‘game on,’ you become very focused,” Haggett says of his actions. “I was just reacting to the moment. If he had done anything other than what he did, it would have been shots fired.”
The 22-year-veteran says experience paid off as he stared down the armed man accused of stealing three cars, threatening 12 drivers and residents and creating six different crime scenes.
As for the label of “hero,” Haggett says there are plenty of “high-fives” to go around. “Having seen it, I have no second thoughts on how it came down.”
McLaughlin says there wasn’t a lot of conversation but the suspect kept saying, “I’m down, I’m down.”
Other officers arrived fairly quickly and McLaughlin was able to move away.
“The police were very thankful and that’s awesome,” he says.