Jeremy Webster Charged with First-degree Murder in June Shooting of Family
On the afternoon of June 14, a man walked into a dentist’s office at the corner of West 80th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster.
Suddenly, he heard a pop. Then another pop. He ran to the window, facing out to the parking lot, facing the horror. He saw a man — who he later described to police as younger and white, thinly built with glasses and scraggly short hair — holding a gun.
The man in the dentist’s office heard more pops. Kids screamed. He saw a child, 13-year-old Vaughn Bigelow Jr., kneeling on the grass, head down.
He saw the man with the gun slowly walk over to the child.
“He watched him execute this kid,” Westminster police Detective Bernard Vonfeldt recounted in a Brighton courtroom on Friday.
That horrific description — Vonfeldt testified at length about his interview with the witness in the dentist’s office — came during an emotional preliminary hearing for 23-year-old Jeremy Webster, charged with first-degree murder and 18 other counts in a June road-rage incident in which he’s accused of shooting a mother, two of her children and a bystander.
Webster, who, according to an arrest affidavit, admitted to the shootings, is being held at the Adams County Detention Facility without bond. He is accused of killing Vaughn Bigelow, and injuring Vaughn’s 41-year-old mother, Meghan, and 8-year-old brother, Asa. A bystander, John Gale, was shot in both arms.
The preliminary hearing will resume at 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to Sue Lindsay, spokeswoman for the 17th Judicial District District Attorney’s Office. At that point, Judge Don Quick will determine whether to send the case to trial.
During the hearing, Westminster police investigators fleshed out more details about the road-rage incident on June 14, relaying eyewitness accounts from the scene, as well interviews with Meghan Bigelow, her son Cooper — the only family member there who wasn’t shot — and Gale.
“He’s got a gun!”
According to Vonfeldt, it all began with an emergency siren. Bigelow was driving her three kids to a routine dentist appointment when she heard an emergency vehicle coming up behind her on Sheridan Boulevard. Bigelow and Cooper, 12, told police that she attempted to move to the right lane in order to let the emergency vehicle through. But when she tried to do so, a black Toyota Corolla was in her way.
Bigelow told police the Corolla’s driver, alleged to be Webster, cursed at her through his open window. Bigelow yelled obscenities back at him, according to testimony. She then tried to speed up and merge into the right lane ahead of Webster, but he sped up in order to block her path, police testified.
As they made a turn toward the dentist’s office, Cooper told police that he noticed the man still was following them. Bigelow and her two kids got out of their vehicle in the parking lot. That’s when things escalated between Bigelow and Webster, who had pulled in behind her, police said. Both drivers cursed at one another.
Wanting to protect her kids, Bigelow ushered the boys toward the dentist’s office.
Webster then allegedly got back into his car, and Bigelow took out her cell phone to photograph his license plate. “We’ll see what police say about this,” Vonfeldt testified she recalled saying. At that point, the detective told the judge, Webster backed up, and grabbed his Glock 19 handgun.
According to Vonfeldt’s testimony, Bigelow yelled, “He’s got a gun!” to her children. She walked around her truck, police said, in order to lead Webster away from her kids.
He then shot her in the back, Vonfeldt testified, and proceeded to fire at the kids.
Gale was sitting in his truck in the parking lot when he suddenly became Webster’s next target, police said. He had driven with his 9-year-old daughter to the dentist that afternoon for an appointment. They were early, so they decided to wait in the car. Gale was on a work call when he saw a man and woman arguing in front of him.
He watched the man pull out a gun. The first thought that came to his mind, Vonfeldt testified, was “this can’t be real.” It must be a play gun, the detective said Gale told police. He then watched as Webster opened fire on Bigelow, Vonfeldt told the court.
Soon after, Gale and Webster locked eyes, he told police. Webster started walking toward him, shooting as he came closer, Vonfeldt testified. He tried putting the car in reverse, but his right arm wouldn’t budge. He had been shot, the detective said. He yelled for his daughter to lie on the floor in the back of the truck. Eventually, Webster stopped and turned to walk back the other direction, according to police testimony. Gale and his daughter ran into the dentist’s office for safe cover.
“It feels like a bad dream”
Webster, who lives in Colorado Springs, was in Westminster on June 14 for a job, working on a floor remodel for his cousin, police said. After allegedly shooting the four people in the dentist’s office parking lot, Webster drove back to the job site, finished some work, and then started making his way home, according to detectives. Police caught him on Interstate 25 near Castle Rock.
Webster sat for a video interview with police for more than three hours after he was arrested that day, detectives said. The video was shown in a closed session Friday after the judge barred the public from the courtroom.
Defense lawyers did offer some insight into what Webster told police in that interview. He asked that day what he was being arrested for. Murder, police responded. He then leaned in and asked, “Murder?” defense lawyers said. Webster then said, “It just doesn’t feel real,” Vonfeldt confirmed. “It feels like a bad dream,” he added, according to defense lawyers and police.
The defense looked to establish Friday that Webster’s mental health issues were a factor in his actions on June 14.
Webster had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, police said. He was also on anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications, Vanfeldt said, citing an interview with Webster’s psychiatrist.
Judge Quick pushed back on the defense’s cross-examination of Vanfeldt, saying that Friday’s preliminary hearing was not a sanity trial, and it was not the time to go into full diagnosis.
Webster sat at the defense table for the entirety of the hearing. Clad in blue-and-white striped prison garb with thin-rimmed glasses, he stared straight ahead, rarely so much as turning his head for hours.