A Fountain Police officer has died, nine days after falling 40 feet off of a bridge while he was chasing a carjacking suspect.
Julian Becerra is survived by his wife Katie and a young daughter. He had been with the Fountain Police Department for four and a half years.
Becerra had been listed in critical condition since the fall on Feb. 2. Fountain Police said in a release Friday morning that he was on life support and was surrounded by his family and friends. The police department said in a release Saturday evening that he had succumbed to his injuries.
Two days after Becerra’s fall, his brother-in-law, David Alderman, described him as a wonderful father.
“Having two daughters of my own, I’ve actually gotten to learn a lot from him as far as being a dad,” Alderman said.
Police said Becerra was severely injured while helping the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole Unit. The Parole Unit was looking for a carjacking suspect from the Pueblo area who had warrants. The suspect was believed to be in a stolen vehicle, police said.
Police spotted the vehicle near Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs. After an on-and-off pursuit, the three suspects in the vehicle attempted to carjack someone at a Love’s Travel Plaza in Fountain.
Police pursued the suspects north on Interstate 25. The suspect vehicle exited the interstate at South Academy Boulevard, and police used stop sticks to partially disable it, police said.
Fountain officers then used tactical vehicle maneuvers to finally stop the vehicle. The driver jumped out and ran, police said. While officers were trying to take the suspect into custody, Becerra fell over the bridge, according to police. Becerra was then airlifted to a hospital.
Officers eventually took three suspects into custody. Charges related to the pursuit incident are pending, police said.
“This is a tough time for our city, and I want all of our police officers and first responders to know we are standing with them,” Fountain Mayor Sharon Thompson said Sunday.
Thompson said the men who led police to chase the stolen car where Becerra ultimately died should already have been in jail.
“The suspects that Officer Becerra was pursuing the night he was gravely injured were felons with multiple active warrants for their arrest. They should never have been out on the street in the first place,” Thompson said.
Outside the Fountain Police Department, Becerra’s patrol car is now a memorial. Dozens of flower bouquets, notes and signs hang on the car.
“It breaks my heart because I know he’s a young guy and he’s got a young family. He left behind a community,” said Shelly Raposa, who stopped to lay flowers on the car. “I grew up in Fountain and I just kind of felt the need. I just wanted to pay my respects. It’s not often it happens in Fountain.”
We still don’t know specifics about what happened leading up to Becerra falling off the bridge. Fountain Police said they’re focused on grieving now and aren’t answering questions about what happened the night of the car chase.
Donations to the Becerra family can be made here. Those who want to make a donation should check the “Designated” box and enter Julian Becerra in the “Designated Officer Name” field.
Becerra’s brother-in-law started his own GoFundMe campaign for his sister and her family.