Wesley Mattox’ scary black rifles in a Colorado shootout

| July 11, 2018

Bobo sends us a link to the story of 28-year-old Austin Benson who stole a Mazda and went on a terror spree in a Colorado national forest until he ran into retired Russellville, Alabama police officer Wesley Mattox and his AR rifles.

Benson shot at several campers he met after stealing the hatch-back Mazda, including a couple camping with their grandchildren. Then he encountered Mattox;

The retired 51-year-old officer told authorities that he was camping in Pike National Forest with his wife when Benson pulled into their campsite and began yelling.

Mattox told Douglas County deputies that when he approached the Mazda to find out what the man wanted, Benson pointed a rifle at him and told him to “get him water” and said “the law was after him,” KOAA reported.

The former officer said he returned to his camper and gave his wife a handgun, and told her to take cover, KUSA reported. Then he grabbed an AR-15 rifle for himself.

Mattox told deputies that he took up a position behind the Mazda and ordered Benson to drop his weapon, but Benson shot at him and his camper as he began to drive away. Mattox returned fire.

The former officer told deputies that during the gunfight, he moved away from his truck to direct Benson’s fire away from his camper, where his wife was hiding, KOAA reported.

Benson drove into a tree, but then fired a few more rounds at Mattox.

Mattox told deputies that he believed he was out of ammunition in his rifle, so he went into his truck and grabbed a second AR-15.

According to the arrest affidavit for Benson, Mattox said he fired one more shot at the Mazda to see if he would get a reaction because he didn’t see any movement inside the car, KUSA reported.

About that time, Manitou Springs police officers arrived at the campsite and arrested Benson.

Police said Benson had been shot several times and had wounds to his face and his arm, KUSA reported.

Both Mattox and his wife were uninjured.

Colorado bans magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, so I guess the way around that is to have multiple rifles.

Benson has been charged with six counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of attempted aggravated robbery.

Category: Guns

Comments (45)

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  1. SSG Kane says:

    In Call of Duty it is faster to switch weapons than reload…

    • USAF E-5 says:

      Honest To God Truth. First time I did it, I’m like WTF? Takes usually less than 1 to drop the mag and reload for me, but the game mechanics are soooo slow. Recently watched the video interviews with Kiefer Sutherland and Gary Oldman about the Marine Sgt and Reznov Voices. Heh heh, hard core Reznov fan. “Keep moving Dimitri!”

      • SSG Kane says:

        Back when my son and I were playing regularly, we kept a running list of “Things Call of Duty taught me…”. Swapping rather than reloading was number two on the list.

        Number one was shoot first die first.

  2. SFC D says:

    See there, more proof that the AR is not an assault weapon, it is a defensive weapon. Damn fine job, Mr. Mattox!

    • 5JC says:

      Completely agree.

      I wonder what kind of ammo that he was using that caused several wounds and the criminal was still breathing? Maybe there were shrapnel wounds caused by the bullet breaking up after going through the Mazda body.

      The area where nutter was going on his rage is actually a very populated area frequented by tourists all day long in the summer. it is a miracle more people were not killed.

      • Fyrfighter says:

        Only because it wasn’t hunting season 5JC… durig the fall, the vast majority of folks up there would be hunters, and as such, appropriately armed…One more example of why everyone in the back country should be armed..(and in town as well..)

        • 5JC says:

          I bet he was following the 15 round magazine rule in Colorado. If he had a full magazine up front he would probably not have run out.

          If this happened in rural Alabama it likely would have not gotten past the first or second shooting.

  3. Skippy says:

    Play stupid games…
    win stupid prizes

    Dumb ass

    • desert says:

      uh oh, you are describing colorado laws again huh? colorado has been down the toilet since Col Chivington was sent with his town drunks to exterminate a peaceful tribe of American Flag waving indians…the dirty bastard!

  4. Sparks says:

    Two words. Mag pouch. But, I am glad the retired officer and his wife are okay and hopefully “Billy the Tard’ will die of his wounds.

  5. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “Wait! I’m out of ammo. Don’t go away. Be right back. Yeah, driving into that tree is good. Be right back.”

    Guy was nicely armed. Wife got the handgun. He got the rifle. Yeah boy.

    • ex-OS2 says:

      Donald: Jaaaack?

      Jack: Yeah?

      Donald: Time out, OK?

      Jack: Time out?

      Donald: Time out.

      Jack: What do you mean, ‘time out?’

      Donald: You’re not gonna believe this. I was in a hurry when I left the cabin this morning, and, well, silly me, I got the wrong bullets.

      • SSG Kane says:

        “Gunner, link up the belts.”


        “What’re the problem gunner?”

        “Ah, we have a problem.”

        “We have a problem?”

        “Yes Sergeant. When we left the fob this morning I grabbed an ammo can filled with shotgun shells rather than the 762 ammo.”


        Nothing like being in the middle of a patrol and realizing your gunner is an idiot and your PCI didn’t include opening the ammo can to make sure

        • 5JC says:

          Better yet have your gunner set his M4 down on the roof when he is getting cozy and then forgetting to bring it back in.

          Somewhere in Iraq there is an 11 year old rock thrower with the one of the nicest of assault rifles.

          • SSG Kane says:

            One of our commo guys did that with his SKL and M9.

            Emergency comsec change for everyone…

      • Mayhem says:

        LOL ! I was thinking about that movie too. What was it? The Survivalists ? or something.

      • SidneyBroadshead says:

        The Survivors (1983)
        Donald Quinelle (Robin Williams)
        Sonny Paluso (Walter Mathau)
        Jack Locke (Jerry Reed)

        Two unemployed sad-sacks without any other options join a survivalist militia group.

        Donald Quinelle: “What kind of man gives cigarettes to trees?”

  6. OWB says:

    Bet that several people in/around that campground are glad the federal rules changed a few years ago allowing folks to bring their firearms with them.

    Hmmm. So this case should be sufficient justification to buy two of things rather than single somethings. You know, like, if one huge diamond ring is good, two would be better, right?

    Oh. Diamonds are not like scary black gunzz? OK, but I would bet that if one spouse wants a new scary black gun, buying the other spousal unit a diamond is a great idea. Besides, in the proper design, a diamond ring can become an effective assault weapon.

    Oh, never mind. Good job, Mr. Maddox.

  7. 26Limabeans says:

    Is it legal to tape two together? Three?
    How about a device that feeds five round mags into the well one at a time?
    Somebody gonna do it.

    • CCO says:

      Taping two mags together, one up and one down, is an old Wehrmacht trick; people say it’s a bad idea since you’ll get dirt in the open mag sure as mud.

      • SSG Kane says:

        Magpul used to make an attachment to join two mags together, side by side so all you had to do was drop and move it over. Kept the dirt out of the mag but I never really fell in love with the concept enough to train with it. Felt like it pulled the balance of the rifle off.

        • Mason says:

          PD I retired from, that’s how our patrol rifles were set up. I was fine shooting out of the left mag, but when I had to switch to the right mag it felt like that one hanging off the left was just in the way. So I agree with ya.

    • SSG Kane says:

      One of the guys I used to shoot with in CA, but a windmill looking thing that attached to the top rail of his ar and hung down the offhand side of the rifle. It held four five round mags. On his firing hand, he’d attached a rivit to the finger of his glove so he could hit his bullet button to release the mag. He’d then flip the mag out rotate the next one into position and flip it up into the mag well…

      I’m not saying it was a good idea or even that it was legal under CA law, but it was funny as hell to watch him tweak the nose of CA DOJ.

    • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

      26Limabeans; Last time I saw two mags taped together was back in 1965 during the Dominican Crisis (op. Power Pack) when an Air Force Huey or an H34 landed on the OKIE 3 and it was lowered into the hanger bay and there was one of the crew members wearing an Aussie bush hat and he had an M-1 Carbine with a mag in the well and another attached to it. Someone told me years later after I told the story that the second mag put a strain on the mag catch and that it was a bad idea. I don’t remember if it was taped or held together with a spring type clamp. Long time ago. Would anyone out there know about if the two mags would weaken the mag catch??? I always thought that once onboard, one could not have a loaded firearm. Possible that he was going to un mag the weapon or maybe the mags were empty. The craft had a jury rigged M-60 MG mounted on the right hand wheel strut with the I have a senior moment and forgot what they call the conduit that feeds the belts into the weapon. This ran from the MG into the cabin. Shit, these I forget these things while typing is F..ked up. Don’t get older than 70.

  8. Martinjmpr says:

    Colorado bans magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, so I guess the way around that is to have multiple rifles.

    Not exactly. The law bans the sale or transfer of >15rd mags AFTER 7/1/13. Any mags that were in your possession prior to that date are legal to keep, but they can’t be sold, traded or given away in-state.

    There have been very few prosecutions on this law because the burden of proof is on the State to prove you acquired the mag AFTER 7/1/13. Without a confession or a credible witness statement, that’s hard to prove since magazines don’t have date stamps on them.

    Some of the local gun shops even sell disassembled magazines as “repair parts.” Others will sell fully assembled >15rd mags if you show a LE or Military ID or an ID that shows you reside in a different state.

    Finally, Cheyenne, WY is just across the state line, barely 100 miles from Denver, and has many, many sporting goods and gun stores.

    My point being that anybody in Colorado who wants a >15rd mag isn’t going to have trouble getting one.

    (I may or may not have a bunch of >15rd mags in my gun safe, which may or may not exist. Or at least it did exist until that tragic boating accident. 😉 )

    • OWB says:

      It’s amazing just how many friends have tragically lost safes and stray firearms in boating accidents. I’ve offered to teach a safety course. Looks like they really need it.

    • Fyrfighter says:

      I know at least one gun store near Denver that has a big crate, with a big sign that says STANDARD CAPACITY MAGAZINES… it’s all 30 rounders, and they have no problem selling them to anyone. When all but three Sheriffs in that state (those three being appointed, not elected, in counties run exclusively by dims..) have said they cannot and will not enforce the law…. yeah, as Martinjumper said, there’s no shortage of standard capacity magazines in the state..

      • charles w says:

        I live in Longmont, in dreaded Boulder County and I purchased a standard capacity magazine just the other day with no problem.

        • Fyrfighter says:

          I’m sorry Charles.. I’m a bit south east,in Elbert county.. In the republican primary for Sheriff, the two main candidates went to great lengths to prove they were the most friendly to the Second Amendment… I like living here…

          • charles w says:

            I am only a half mile from Weld county and freedom. Longtucky as we are known, has a couple good shops that sell the dreaded full capacity mags. Our Sheriff is pretty hands off of this law.

            • Fyrfighter says:

              Hahaha.. Longtuckey.. surprised I haven’t heard that, but I’m damn sure gonna use it! Glad you’re not close enough to Boulder to be where they banned “assault weapons”… as if that’ll actually stand up to challenges..

  9. Mason says:

    Hold on a gosh darn minute. I’ve been reading “expert” opinions for years now ranging from trauma docs to REMF military types that talk about how “assault weapons” are more deadly than other guns. One bullet is enough to rip a man in half they say. That a person with minimal or no training could use one to slaughter millions of people in seconds.

    Were the experts wrong? This guy was shot by one multiple times and lives to tell the tale.

    I am shocked and appalled I say. /sarc

    • The Other Whitey says:

      Imagine if Officer Mattox had a two-generations-older Garand! That Mazda’s interior would’ve been a mess!

      • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

        A friend of mine who did Garand rebuilding wanted to give me one as a freeo but I declined. when I did my inactive Navy reserve weekends, sometimes we went up to Camp Smith and fired the Garands. Got a lot of Maggies Drawers waved at me and when I worked the pits had a ball waving the big red Maggies drawers ball at the overhead misses which you could hear above your head.

  10. The Other Whitey says:

    I’m burning some vacation time next week and taking my wife, kids, sister-in-law, and nieces camping. I was already going to bring a pistol. In light of this shit, I think now I might throw an M1 in the truck as well. Besides, with .30-06, that Mazda and most other cars are merely concealment, not cover.

    • SFC D says:

      I have a ’55 Willy’s CJ-3B that has more steel in the left front fender than most new vehicles have in their entirety.

    • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

      TOW; In an emergency, you could use the front tires and engine block as temporary cover.

  11. PigmyPuncher says:

    Benson drove into a tree, but then fired a few more rounds at Mattox.

    Mattox told deputies that he believed he was out of ammunition in his rifle, so he went into his truck and grabbed a second AR-15.

    2 is 1, 1 is none…