Real Names: Alan Lamont Pilon and Jason Wayne McVean, Robert Mason.
Aliases: Monte Pilon
Wanted For: Terrorism, Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: May 29, 1998
Details: On the afternoon of May 29, 1998, forty-five-year-old Colorado police officer Dale Claxton stopped the drivers of a stolen Ignacio, Colorado water-truck near the town of Cortez. As Claxton was waiting word from dispatch, three men got out of the truck brandishing automatic weapons and fired upon Claxton, killing him instantly. Claxton had been an officer for three years. He left behind a wife, four children, and a grandchild.
The assault and murder shocked the community, and tragically, it was only the beginning. Shortly after the murder, the three men abandoned the stolen water truck and stole a pickup truck. Deputy Jason Bishop was run off the road and shot by the men. Although he briefly lost consciousness, he survived. Officer Steve Keller was also shot at by the men. He believed that they were driving at least 70 mph. Detective Todd Martin spotted the pickup truck and prepared to return fire. However, he was overwhelmed with automatic gunfire, shot once in the arm and once in the leg. He lost a large amount of blood but survived.
The suspects continued to fire upon police officers in and around Colorado as the officers tried to stop the suspects. During the shooting spree, nine vehicles were struck and several officers were injured, including two who had to be hospitalized. An hour later, the stolen pickup truck was found in a ravine forty miles northwest of Cortez on the Colorado/Utah border.
After the shooting spree on May 29, investigators began searching for the killers, with more than 500 officers from local, state, and federal agencies searching but the shooters remained at large. A week passed before they were identified as Alan "Monte" Pilon, age thirty, Jason McVean, and Robert Mason, both twenty-six. Although none of them had any criminal record, they all had anti-government views and were actually once kicked out of a militia group for allegedly being too violent. They each had wilderness survival training. Pilon was also battling the government over back taxes.
A week after their first assaults, the men attacked and injured a police officer in Bluff, Utah. The three shooters eventually entered into Cross Canyon in Utah where they vanished, which is where their truck was later found abandoned. The next day, Mason's body was found nearby, having died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
About a month later, two suspicious men were seen near a water truck in a nearby town. The men were then scared off by a young girl, believing that the men were trying to steal it. Police now believe the two men may have been Pilon and McVean. They are now searching for the two fugitives, with a $300,000 reward being offered in the case.
- This segment first ran as a part of the April 9, 1999 episode.
- The case was on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Solved. On October 31, 1999, an anonymous tip led police to the remains of Alan Pilon which were in the desert in San Juan County, Utah. His identity was confirmed through dental records. It was determined that he had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On June 5, 2007, a rancher found human remains, along with some survival gear and pipe bombs, in a remote Utah desert, about two miles from where Pilon's remains were found. Dental records confirmed that the remains belonged to Jason McVean, marking the final end of the search for the killers. A watch was found with the remains which stopped on May 30. This leads authorities to believe that McVean most likely died that day, which was one day after the crime spree. To this day, nobody knows the reason behind the brutal assaults and murder.
- Jason McVean and Alan Pilon on Unsolved Archive
- Jason McVean on AMW Archive
- 2 fugitives still haunt Four Corners - May 30, 1998
- Police Hunt 3 Cop Killers - June 3, 1998
- Fugitive Search Continues - July 29, 1998
- Hunt still on for two outlaws - August 9,1998
- Desert manhunt tests cops - August 9, 1998
- Manhunt story to air on 'Unsolved Mysteries' - April 8, 1999
- Tracker Undaunted by Yearlong Hunt for 2 Utah Survivalists - May 23, 1999
- Body in Desert Believed to Be Suspect in Police Killing - November 2, 1999
- Hunters find remains of suspected police killer - November 2, 1999
- Remains are those of suspect - November 3, 1999
- Desert mystery probably over - June 7, 2007
- Manhunt: A 9-year mystery may be solved - June 7, 2007
- Bones' discovery may solve a 9-year mystery - June 10, 2007
- Bones in Utah canyon ID'd as fugitive in 1998 shooting spree - June 12, 2007
- 1998 manhunt remains a thriller: Book delves into details of Cortez killing, search for 3 fugitives - May 27, 2013
- Dale Claxton at Officer Down Memorial Page
- Dale Claxton at Find a Grave