COLORADO SPRINGS — Three adults have been arrested as well as multiple minors in connection to a string of violence and planned burglaries in El Paso County.
According to a press release sent out by the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), the arrests are the result of more than a year of investigations and undercover work by the Strategic Investigations Unit (SIU) of CSPD. The investigation began in December of 2021, when the SIU investigated a “pattern of crimes” committed by a group of minors involved with a local gang called “P-Block.”
The minor suspects were not named in the release due to their age. Instead they are identified as “Suspect 1,” “Suspect 2,” and “Suspect 3.”
The investigation began when Suspect 1 contacted undercover detectives on social media, soliciting them to help him steal guns from a gun store. The suspect requested the detectives provide him with a gun and glass-breaking tools.
The suspect was arrested on December 21, 2021 at an arranged meeting with the undercover detectives, and was found to have a handgun in his possession. He was released on bond and failed to appear in court.
In January of 2022, Suspect 1 and two other minors identified as Suspects 2 and 3 drove to a fight near Panorama Middle School. While at the fight, the suspects pointed multiple guns at children and threatened to kill them. A fourth minor suspect was identified as having staged the fight with the intent of starting an armed confrontation.
In February, Suspects 1 and 3 attempted to steal a car from a residential driveway and were confronted by the car’s owner, and Suspect 1 pointed a gun at the owner and threatened to kill him. A week later, officers with CSPD attempted to stop the stolen car, but the suspects evaded officers. Further investigation into the incident revealed the suspects recorded themselves fleeing and pointed a handgun at the officer as they fled.
All three minor suspects were arrested in March on outstanding warrants, as well as new charges ranging from conspiracy to commit 1st degree burglary and motor vehicle theft to assault on a police officer and accessory to attempted 1st degree murder.
Through laboratory testing, the guns recovered from the juveniles were also linked to multiple other crimes, including an unsolved attempted murder in January of 2022, in which Suspects 2 and 3 allegedly attempted to rob the victim and fired at the victim’s car when he tried to flee. The victim was grazed by a bullet during the incident.
In the course of follow-up investigations, detectives learned several adults had aided the minors by providing weapons and transportation, as well as concealing and tampering with evidence and helping them avoid police.
One of the adults, 35-year-old Evan Hill, was contacted by SIU detectives. Believing the detectives to be underage, Hill allegedly solicited them to engage in child prostitution in exchange for guns and narcotics. In July of 2022, a search warrant was served at a location in the 200 block of Longfellow Drive, just southeast of Academy Boulevard and Pikes Peak Avenue.
During the search, Hill was arrested and detectives recovered six guns, two of which were stolen and one that had been defaced. Two additional adult suspects were identified as 37-year-old Heather Marquez and 42-year-old April Beese.
Marquez and Beese were also taken into custody and face multiple charges, including providing a handgun to a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, among others.