Earlier this month, we told you about the death of David Ludewig, who was shot and killed by a security guard after allegedly pointing an Airsoft gun at him.
17th Judicial District DA Dave Young has now announced that he will not be filing criminal charges against the guard, Gustav Ruppel -- a move that prompted Ludewig's cousin, who was with him at the time of the shooting, to lash out at the media. Continue for details, photos, a video and Young's complete decision letter.
The incident reportedly took place at around 1:25 a.m. on August 2, and in his letter to Westminster Police Department Detective Joe Pudelwits, Young maintains that "the evidence is largely uncontroverted."
The document states that Ruppel contacted Ludewig and his cousin, Johnny Secrest, at the Sunset Ridge apartment complex in Westminster after seeing Ludewig urinating on a fence or a dumpster. "Mr. Ludewig and Mr. Secrest were returning from a bar and were intoxicated," the letter states.
At that point, Ruppel is said to have tried identifying Ludewig, prompting an argument. Ludewig and Secrest then walked or ran toward their apartment, with Ruppel following in the same general direction in an effort to identify the apartment number. Ruppel subsequently encountered an angry Secrest in the parking lot around the time Ludewig emerged from his apartment holding what appeared to be a handgun.
Ludewig is quoted as saying, "Do you want to bring out a gun, motherfucker?" Next, the report says, Ludewig walked toward the parking lot, approached Ruppel and pointed the gun at him.
In response, Ruppel pulled his own gun and ordered Ludewig to stop and drop his weapon, the letter states. Instead, Ludewig allegedly continued advancing with his gun aimed at the security guard. Seconds later, Ruppel fired two shots at Ludewig, killing him.
Young stresses that while Ludewig's gat was actually an Airsoft gun, its lack of an orange tip made it appear to be genuine.
Another look at the scene from 7News coverage.
Afterward, the narrative continues, Secrest allegedly hid the Airsoft gun inside the apartment under a mattress, where it was found by law enforcement. He said he put it there because he didn't want Ludewig to get into trouble.
For his part, Ruppel is off the hook. After quoting from Colorado's self-defense statute, Young writes:
Mr. Ludewig displayed what appeared to be a handgun and made comments about a gun directed at Mr. Ruppel. Additionally, he ignored Mr. Ruppel's commands to drop the gun and continued to advance toward Mr. Ruppel with the weapon pointed at him. The evidence supports the conclusion that Mr. Ruppel drew his handgun at the point in which he perceived Mr. Ludewig displaying what appeared to be a deadly weapon. The evidence further supports the conclusion that Mr. Ruppel fired his weapon only after he reasonably perceived to be the use of unlawful physical force by Mr. Ludewig's conduct with what appeared to be a handgun.
As such, Young goes on, "we will not be filing criminal charges in this matter."
Johnny Secrest as seen in his Facebook profile pic.
Secrest's response to this decision, as shared on Facebook, is directed not so much at the DA as it is to a pair of media outlets. The unedited post reads:
What a classy move fox 31 n 9 news just found out davids killer w not b charged criminally. N u called me for my response to this news. This w be me my last statement re this subject. Im am saddened by this n outraged at ur lack of tact in handleing of this matter w myself my family n david. Asshat hacks news hungry dicks. Theres my statement.
Here's a 7News report broadcast shortly after the incident, followed by Young's decision letter.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.