Man accused of shooting at oil field workers for sport

DENVER, CO — A Brighton man is accused of randomly shooting at oil field workers Monday in Weld County. He was arrested in Denver Thursday night, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said.

Tyler James Van Auken, 31, faces felony charges of menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, officials said. He also faces misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment, prohibited use of weapons, and driving after revocation.

Deputies were called to an oil and gas well pad Monday afternoon near Weld County roads 6 and 29 north of Brighton. Witnesses said they were working at the site when a white SUV drove past and someone fired four or five shots at the workers, according to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies later identified the vehicle as a white Chevy Trailblazer, which had a Denver Broncos sticker on the left side of the tailgate, officials said. Investigators were able to find out the registered owner of the vehicle, who told them that Van Auken was driving her SUV while intoxicated and “decided it would be fun to fire his handgun out the window,” the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said.

Van Auken was tracked down and arrested Thursday night at a hotel near Denver International Airport by the Weld County Sheriff’s Strike Team and the Denver Police Department’s SWAT Team.

He was scheduled to appear for a bond hearing Friday afternoon in Weld District Court.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at 970-356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.