An unnamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent aims his firearm at a car driven by fugitive Dallas Theiss on April 9, 2021, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Screenshot via surveillance footage, courtesy of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The wanted fugitive who got shot on April 9 while trying to run over a federal agent in a Colorado convenience store’s parking lot will spend the next nine years behind bars.
As first reported by Coffee or Die Magazine, Dallas Michael Theiss, 24, pleaded guilty in August to ramming his Nissan sedan into the shin of an unidentified Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent trying to nab him for a string of probation violations.
According to a Monday, Nov. 29, judgment, Chief Judge Philip A. Brimmer in Denver sentenced Theiss to 110 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for the April 9 assault. His time behind bars will run concurrently to an anticipated state court punishment on additional charges, including a felony and three misdemeanor parole violations.
Theiss is currently incarcerated in the El Paso County Jail on those Colorado charges.
Court records reveal Theiss had sought an 84-month prison sentence, arguing that he was high on methamphetamine and “in a drug-induced adrenaline rush” when he tried to break free from a law enforcement sting at a Colorado Springs 7-Eleven store, striking the federal agent with his bumper, narrowly missing a small child, and then weaving through traffic with local cops in pursuit.
To dodge Theiss’ Nissan, the ATF agent fired his service pistol three times into the car’s windshield and side window, striking the driver in the head and arm.
“This case demonstrates the kind of heroic acts that federal law enforcement officers undertake every day to keep us safe,” acting United States Attorney Matt Kirsch said in a prepared statement. “Taking violent offenders off the street is a dangerous business, and we are grateful no one was killed in this incident.”
In a similar statement, ATF Special Agent in Charge David Booth said, “We are fortunate the injuries our agent suffered were not fatal. Through extraordinary bravery and professionalism in the face of imminent danger, this violent criminal was taken into custody without anyone else being harmed.
“We applaud the United States Attorney’s Office in their success in this case thus removing a violent criminal from our communities.”
Dallas Michael Theiss, shot by the federal agent he tried to run over in a parking lot, has pleaded guilty to assault of a law enforcement officer.https://t.co/vovWA5UGZ4
— Coffee or Die Magazine (@CoffeeOrDieMag) September 24, 2021
Theiss faced up to 20 years behind bars. But questions about how violent Theiss really is continued to dog the prosecution and triggered a lighter sentence.
Court filings submitted by his federal defender, Natalie Girard Stricklin, revealed an unloved man running from a bad childhood, estranged from his parents, mentally ill, and physically abused. Theiss was 17 when he discovered narcotics but later got clean while living with his grandparents.
He arrived in Colorado in 2019 “on his own, looking for a fresh start, and began a new life,” according to court records. But he relapsed, lost a telemarketing gig, and then “the pandemic hit.” With Colorado Springs in lockdown, Theiss “had nowhere to go, no jobs to seek, and no friends to rely on,” according to court records.
“He turned to criminality,” Theiss’ attorney wrote. “Initially, he was breaking into and sleeping in cars or staying at various peoples’ homes and stealing from them. He was using drugs and spending time with other users.
“Prior to his move to Colorado in 2019, Mr. Theiss had one juvenile adjudication. Today, Mr. Theiss has several pending probation violations and multiple pending cases out of El Paso County, all committed within a 1-year time period.”
Brimmer addressed some of those concerns with his sentence. He ordered Theiss to participate in substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment when he exits prison.
Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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