A Durango man accused of armed carjacking at Fort Lewis College is being held on $50,000 bail at the La Plata County Jail.
Roger Chase Brassard, 25, made his first appearance Monday in 6th Judicial District Court. Brassard is suspected of second-degree kidnapping, aggravated robbery, menacing, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and aggravated motor vehicle theft.
Durango police located and arrested Brassard on Thursday near 11th Street and Main Avenue, said Mitch Davis, spokesman for the college. He was arrested on a criminal mischief and domestic violence warrant for a separate incident that occurred Nov. 27 at the Iron Horse Inn, 5800 Main Ave.
Earlier that day, around 8 p.m., Zachary Habrat was waiting inside his vehicle outside Jones Hall at FLC to pick up his younger sister when he was approached by Brassard, who was armed with a handgun, according to police and a four-page arrest affidavit.
Brassard got inside Habrat’s car, forced him into the passenger seat and began driving at a “high rate of speed and very recklessly,” the affidavit says.
After leaving campus, Brassard made suicidal comments and put the barrel of the gun in his mouth, according to statements made to police. While on North College Drive, Habrat attempted to calm Brassard by offering to buy him a beer at J. Bo’s Pizza and Rib Co., according to the affidavit.
Brassard passed J. Bo’s by turning left on Florida Road and heading to East Animas Road (County Road 250). He then drove north on East Animas Road to Trimble Lane (County Road 252) before turning left on Trimble Lane – a distance of about 10 miles. They eventually made it to U.S. Highway 550 and turned onto a driveway entrance and onto railroad tracks.
During the drive, Brassard allegedly pointed the gun toward the passenger-side window and shot the gun. The shot went off in front of Habrat’s face.
The yellow 2003 Ford Ranger eventually became stuck along the railroad tracks.
According to the affidavit, Brassard forced Habrat to help try to dislodge the truck from the railroad tracks. Brassard then forced Habrat to walk south on the railroad tracks and fired a second shot from the gun. Habrat later told FLC police he feared he would be shot.
Habrat told police he was able to get Brassard to walk in front of him, and he then turned and ran into the night. Habrat ran onto Highway 550 and was able to flag down a passing driver, according to the affidavit.
After the incident, Brassard is suspected of traveling on foot about 5 miles to the Iron Horse Inn, 5800 Main Ave. There, Brassard allegedly kicked open a door and got into a fight with his wife.
One witness said when he arrived at the room to inquire about what happened, Brassard said multiple times, “I did it.” Brassard then ran out of the room and through the parking lot, according to the affidavit.
According to a second arrest affidavit, witnesses reported the disturbance to the Durango Police Department about 10 p.m. By the time officers arrived, Brassard had left the scene. His wife had a swollen lip, according to an affidavit.
Authorities were unable to locate Brassard but issued an arrest warrant for criminal mischief and domestic violence.
During their investigation of the kidnapping, police found a spent shell casing between the center console and a driver’s seat rail in Habrat’s truck. Police also found a backpack containing a firearm magazine with live shells matching the spent shell casing, two black T-shirts, a black knit stocking hat, a black and white bandanna and a Samsung cellphone charger, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 30, police searched the railroad tracks and located a second spent shell casing matching the one found in Habrat’s truck, according to the affidavit.
Despite happening on the same night, the incidents are being handled as separate cases, said 6th Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne.
“If the incidents are not related, they are brought on as separate cases,” he said.
“They are not part of the same criminal episode and involve separate victims.”