Suspects in Lochbuie shootout both had criminal records in California
LOCHBUIE ” A 22-year-old California man was being held without bond Monday and his 39-year-old wife was dead following a chase at speeds exceeding 100 mph that ended in a shootout with police at a gas station north of Denver.
Nicholas Vovos, of Lake Forest, was arrested after the shootout at the Shell gas station just off Interstate 76 at Lochbuie, about 25 miles northeast of Denver. His wife, Deborah Sue Miller Vovos, was killed. It was unclear whether she was shot by police or turned a gun on herself, said Lochbuie Police Chief Steve Davis.
“We’re still sorting out who fired what,” Lochbuie Police Chief Steve Davis said. A sheriff’s deputy suffered cuts from a windshield shattered by a shotgun blast fired by Nicholas Vovos.
Law enforcement officers had been on the watch for a vehicle the Vovoses had stolen from a California woman who remains missing.
The vehicle had been chased by Wyoming State Patrol officers near Laramie on Saturday night but escaped.
The Vovoses, who both had criminal records in California, were wanted in the disappearance of Carolyn Dunn Avdeef, who was last seen June 15 and had been reported missing by her employer.
A policeman in Wiggins, 40 miles north of Lochbuie, spotted a car registered to Avdeef on Sunday morning and a chase ensued. Police in Lochbuie put down a strip of spikes to stop the car, but it continued six miles on its rims before coming to a halt in the gas station.
The Vovoses had lived at Avdeef’s home, and California authorities believe the couple stole her car and her credit cards. Deborah Vovos was the daughter of Avdeef’s roommate.
Nicholas Vovos was wanted on a parole violation and has an extensive criminal history in California, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said. Deborah Vovos had a criminal record as well.
Davis said the chase and shooting shocked Lochbuie, a town of 3,500. “We’ve had nothing like this here,” he said.
Sara Skretta, who lives about two blocks from the convenience store, said she looked out her window when she heard shots. “I saw a guy shooting at police,” she said. “He was shooting at the police cars. It looked like he shot twice and the police shot about six times.”
She said that when the shooting stopped, she looked outside again and saw paramedics trying to revive a woman who had been a passenger in the bullet-riddled car.
Avdeef shared a house with Deborah Vovos’ mother and reportedly let the couple pitch their tent behind the house for a brief time, Amormino said. Amormino said deputies fear for Avdeef’s safety.
“Obviously, the more time that goes on, the likelihood of her being a victim of foul play definitely increases,” Amormino said.
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