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MEEKER I Wanted for domestic violence and assault from an incident a few days earlier, the driver of a vehicle shot and killed himself Sept. 9, after being stopped by a Colorado State Highway Patrol trooper.
When the trooper approached, the driver — 56-year-old Robert Harold Rawson — shot himself in the chest with a short-barreled shotgun, while sitting in his vehicle in a parking lot at the intersection of Highway 13 and County Road 5,
“Within the first minute of the contact (with the trooper), the driver, while still sitting in his vehicle, shot himself once in the chest,” said Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Mike Joos.
After 30 minutes of life-saving efforts by the trooper and two Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Rawson was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident occurred shortly after 5 p.m., 23 miles south of Meeker.
Rawson was wanted on warrants in Rio Blanco County for domestic violence, assault and driving while under restraint as a habitual offender. He was out on bond for a previous felony DUI charge.
“The warrants stemmed from a domestic call on Sunday night (Sept. 6) at his and his girlfriend’s residence (on Highway 64), where he assaulted his girlfriend and then left before the deputies arrived,” Joos said.
The girlfriend was put in contact with Safehouse, Joos said, but chose to stay at the residence. However, an hour and a half later, deputies were called back to the house when the girlfriend was assaulted again.
“This time she took the assistance from Safehouse,” Joos said.
Arrest warrants for Rawson were obtained the next day, Sept. 7.
“We had been looking for him since then,” Joos said. “He was supposed to be at work on Piceance Creek, so the deputies and trooper were watching for him when the trooper stopped him in the parking lot of the Rio Blanco Store.”