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4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office: Shooting Involving Officer In Colorado Springs Was Justified

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COLORADO – The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the shooting involving an officer that took place on April 5, 2021 in Colorado Springs.

According to a recent press release, the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) Communications Center received a call to 911 regarding a gun robbery in the 3000 block of West Colorado Avenue. Officers responded to the scene and viewed CCTV as the suspects fled before the CSPD arrived.

Officers determined the theft suspects were in a stolen Toyota 4Runner. The Communication Center broadcast information about the suspects on the four main police radio stations.

The report says officers then observed the stolen 4Runner in the area of ​​West Colorado Avenue and 30th Street and identified the occupants of the vehicle based on what was seen on CCTV. The officers immediately activated their emergency equipment to trigger a traffic stop. The 4Runner did not stop and continued to proceed eastbound on West Colorado Avenue. As the vehicle chase continued, occupants of the 4Runner began shooting at the chasing officers.

At Delta Drive and South Chelton Road on the south side of town, officers still chasing the 4Runner made a turn which resulted in the loss of control and the stopping of the 4Runner. According to the report, Constable Zamora, who was engaged in the pursuit, feared that the driver of the 4Runner might attempt to escape in his vehicle again. He then struck the 4Runner with his marked police car.

The statement reported that Constable Zamora immediately heard gunshots directly in front of him, saw his cruiser’s windshield being hit and believed he was being shot directly at. Agent Zamora shot directly at the driver of the 4Runner.

Constable Huston was also at the intersection of Delta Drive and South Chelton Road in a marked police car and explained this after the 4Runner lost control and stopped. According to the report, Huston was concerned that the 4Runner might flee, and at that point it struck the rear of the 4Runner, moments after Officer Zamora. Officer Huston reportedly saw a handgun pointed directly at him from the 4Runner and immediately heard gunshots. Officer Huston shot through the windshield of his cruiser at the tailgate of the 4Runner.

The report says that while at the scene, officers repeatedly instructed the defendants to leave their vehicles and obey orders, but the defendants did not immediately respond to lawful orders from the officers. .

Several less lethal impact projectiles containing chemical irritants were reportedly deployed inside the 4Runner. It took about 25 minutes for the four passengers to exit the 4Runner and be taken into custody. After the scene was cleared for security reasons, medical attention was provided by CSPD officers and later by paramedics from the Colorado Springs Fire Department, as two of the accused had gunshot wounds. not putting their lives in danger.

Analysis and conclusion:

Agent Jared Huston and Agent Sean Zamora were justified by the level of force used, as the suspects posed an immediate threat to agents and community members. To make this decision, the facts of this case must be analyzed in light of CRS 18-1-704 and CRS18-1-707:

CRS § 18-1-704 sets out the standards for the use of force in the defense of a person:

(1)… a person is justified in using physical force on another person in order to defend himself or a third person against what he reasonably believes to be the unlawful use of physical force by that other person, and he may use a certain amount of force that it reasonably considers necessary for this purpose.

(2) Lethal physical force can only be used if a person reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate and (a) The actor has reasonable grounds to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of sustaining serious bodily harm.

CRS § 18-1-707 sets out the standard for the use of physical force to effect an arrest or prevent an escape:

(1) Peace officers, in the performance of their duties, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to physical force. A peace officer may only use physical force if non-violent means would be ineffective in effecting an arrest, preventing an escape, or preventing an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to the peace officer or another. anybody.

(3) A peace officer may only use lethal physical force to make an arrest when all other means of apprehension are unreasonable in the circumstances and: physical force; (b) The suspect poses an immediate threat to the peace officer or other person; (c) The force employed does not create a substantial risk of injury to other persons.

CSPD officers were in uniform and their body-worn camera images were made available and viewed in full.

After conducting a thorough review of the facts and evidence, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office determined that the use of lethal physical force by Colorado Springs Police Department officer Jared Huston and Sean Zamora was justified in under Colorado state law.

Three of the four occupants of the 4Runner were charged in Colorado District Court Case No. 21CR1888, 21CR1895 and 21CR1901. Criminal charges are only allegations, and all accused are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.