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Colorado rock-throwing suspect took photo of victim’s car ‘as a memento’

Jefferson County, CO Sheriff’s Office

(NEW YORK) — One of three Colorado teenagers accused of throwing large landscaping rocks toward at least seven cars allegedly took a photo of the final victim’s car after hitting it “as a memento,” according to court documents.


Joseph Koenig, Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak, all 18-year-old high school seniors, were arrested this week in connection to the April 19 rock-throwing spree, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. The final rock-throwing incident claimed the life of 20-year-old driver Alexa Bartell. In two of the seven incidents, drivers suffered minor injuries.

After Bartell’s death, Kwak said Koenig and Karol-Chik talked about being “blood brothers,” and said they agreed to never speak of the incident again, according to court documents. The day after Bartell was killed, they allegedly met up to discuss what happened, according to court documents.

Karol-Chik told police all three teens threw rocks at cars and they were “excited” when they hit them, according to court documents. He said Kwak was the one who threw the fatal rock at Bartell’s car, the documents said. After Bartell’s car was hit, Kwak allegedly said, “We have to go back to see that,” and when they turned around, Kwak allegedly took a photo of Bartell’s car, according to the documents.

When Kwak was questioned, he admitted taking a photo, saying “he thought Joseph or Mitch would want it as a memento,” according to court documents.

Kwak said the impact of the rock on Bartell’s car made a very loud noise, like a “rail gun shooting a block of concrete,” and he saw the 20-year-old’s car leave the road, according to court documents.

The teens are charged with first-degree murder with extreme indifference. Additional charges are expected, authorities said.

Koenig and Karol-Chik had allegedly thrown rocks at cars on at least 10 separate occasions since February, according to court documents.

As the three suspects made their first court appearance on Thursday, prosecutors said the community is outraged, and that the teens’ reckless and irresponsible actions took away “an innocent life.”

The teens, who were held on no bond, are set to return to court on May 3.

Koenig’s father was also arrested for allegedly trying to obstruct his son’s arrest, the sheriff’s office said.

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