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Colorado rock-throwing victim speaks out as police search for suspect in deadly spree

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(NEW YORK) — One of at least seven victims of rock-throwing incidents in Colorado, the last of which took the life of a 20-year-old woman, is sharing his story.

Nathan Tipton, a Lyft and Uber driver, had just finished driving a customer when, around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, he was driving southbound on Highway 93 and heard what “sounded like a shotgun blast,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

The sound “scared the heck out of me,” Tipton said.

He pulled over, but then “thought it was just wind damage, so I continued on home,” Tipton said.

As Tipton drove, he said he spoke on the phone to his wife, and she mentioned that the news was reporting that a woman was killed by a rock that struck her car.

Tipton then took a closer look at the driver’s side sliding glass door of his Chrysler minivan and said he saw “both those windows got shattered out — from what I imagine was a rock hitting my window.”

Tipton said he reported it to police and officers responded and took photos.

Tipton said no one was on the side of the road at the time his car was struck and he believes the object was thrown from a car driving in the other direction.

“When I found out that this series of events actually took a young lady’s life, I feel for Alexa and her family. It put me in a bit of a shock. My wife, it really got to her,” he said.

“Nobody should lose their child for a random act. … It’s heartbreaking,” said Tipton, a dad of three.

About 30 minutes after Tipton’s car was struck, around 10:45 p.m., 20-year-old Alexa Bartell was driving when someone threw a large rock through her windshield, hitting and killing her, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.

In the hour before Bartell was killed, six other cars in the area had rocks thrown at them, according to the sheriff’s office. In two of those incidents the drivers suffered minor injuries.

Tipton said he’s grateful that he didn’t have an Uber or Lyft customer in his car at the time his minivan was hit.

To the suspect or suspects, Tipton said his message is: “Grow up … turn yourself in. Give this family some closure on what happened to their daughter. They didn’t deserve to have their daughter taken away from them.”

“I hope Alexa and her family can get some type of justice,” he added.

The suspect’s car may have been a light-colored pickup truck or SUV, the sheriff’s office said. A $17,000 reward has been offered, according to the sheriff’s office.

Anyone with possible information is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

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