Christian Benshoof and Ashley Johnson: DA says bloody shootout that killed these two bank robbers justified

Deputy Chief Tim Carlson and Senior Police Officer Sean Chandler were among those shot in the melee.
Deputy Chief Tim Carlson and Senior Police Officer Sean Chandler were among those shot in the melee.

Adams County District Attorney Don Quick has determined that police actions were justified in an old-fashioned cops-versus-robbers gunfight in Westminster last November. And the details in Quick's decision letter are made for Hollywood.

That's appropriate considering people interviewed as part of the investigation noted that Christian Benshoof, 35, and Ashley Johnson, 25, the pair of bank robbers slain in a rain of hot lead, had "a fascination with the movie Bonnie and Clyde." They were each shot nine times.

The decision letter can be read in its entirety by clicking here. But look below for the vivid summary of findings:

Summary

Before the Officers used deadly force on November 19, 2009, the following had occurred:

1. The two suspects had committed an armed robbery;

2. The robbers refused to pull over when contacted by Sgt. Martinez;

3. The robbers had shot out their back window in order to shoot at Sgt. Martinez -- and did so;

4. The robbers led the officers on a high speed chase up a busy street (Federal) and continued to shoot at the officers;

5. The robbers shot Officer Chandler while he was parked on the side of the road at 112th Avenue;

6. The robbers next shot at Sgt. Rippy and Deputy Chief Carlson who were doing a U-turn at 119th and Federal. Carlson was grazed and the steering wheel blocked Rippy from being shot in the chest;

7. The robbers only stopped after their car was "pitted" and rammed;

8. Finally, the robbers were then told repeatedly to show their hands. Instead, they both raised their guns and pointed and/or fired at the officers.

It was only at this point that the officers used deadly force. Based on these circumstances, the officers were justified in using deadly force pursuant to the provisions of C.R.S. 18-1-707(2).


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