Rock-throwing suspects went back to take photo of fatal crash, Jeffco says

The three men who authorities say threw rocks at vehicles last week, killing 20-year-old Alexa Bartell, turned around after the fatal crash and took a photo of the woman’s car as a memento, according to a Jefferson County sheriff’s affidavit.

One of the 18-year-old suspects told investigators he felt “a hint of guilt,” and said that he and one other man had thrown rocks at vehicles on at least 10 separate days since February. Another suspect was described by a friend as participating in “destructive behavior” because he liked to cause “chaos,” according to the 10-page affidavit released Thursday.

Joseph Koenig, Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak, all 18, were scheduled to appear in Jefferson County District Court on Thursday morning after they were arrested earlier this week for investigation of first-degree murder in Bartell’s death. She was struck by a rock and killed while driving her car around 10:45 p.m. April 19.

After investigators used cellphone location data to pinpoint the three men as suspects, both Karol-Chik and Kwak gave interviews to investigators and described the fatal attack. Karol-Chik said Kwak threw the fatal rock; Kwak said it was thrown by Koenig. Koenig declined to speak with police.

The rock made a “very loud noise” when it hit Bartell’s car, Kwak told investigators. After the impact, he said, “‘We have to go back and see that,’” Karol-Chik told police. The men turned around at the next intersection and passed by Bartell’s car. They stopped and Kwak took a photo as a memento, according to the affidavit.

After the attack, the trio went home. They met up the next day to “get their stories straight” about what happened, according to the affidavit.

“Joseph and Mitch were talking about them now being ‘blood brothers’ and they could never speak of the incident,” Kwak told investigators, according to the affidavit.

Authorities believe all three men threw rocks at cars during a crime spree in west metro Denver on April 19. Seven cars were damaged and two drivers injured in the attacks in Boulder County, Jefferson County, Westminster and Arvada, authorities have said.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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