The case of Greeley's Kyle Moore raises questions about two controversial topics related to modern policing.
The first: Should police officers shoot at moving vehicles, as they did in the January death of seventeen-year-old car thief Jessie Hernandez and an Arapahoe County incident earlier this week?
The second: When is a police chase justified — and when does danger to members of the public outweigh the need to capture a suspect?
The pursuit of Moore, 21, led to a collision with a vehicle occupied by a mom and her ten-year-old daughter, as well as a crash that resulted in another woman's hospitalization — and an officer fired his weapon near a public park. Yet while Moore has a lengthy criminal record, the vast majority of his offenses are non-violent. In addition, three warrants were pending against him.
The details of the incident can be found in Moore's arrest affidavit, on view below.
On March 31, the document notes, Greeley police officers were informed that Moore was wanted for identity theft.
Cut to approximately 6 p.m. on April 9, when members of the Greeley Police Department's special enforcement team learned that Moore was thought to be in the area of Sanborn Park, located at 20131 28th Avenue in Greeley
He was spotted in a Jeep Cherokee a few minutes later. Officers watched Moore, accompanied by a passenger, park the vehicle in a lot on the park's northwest side.
Shortly thereafter, an officer parked his police cruiser in front of the Cherokee, stepped out, approached Moore, who was in the driver's seat, and ordered him to put his hands up.
Moore is said to have initially complied before dropping his hands, revving his engine and taking off in the officer's direction.
The officer, who had drawn his firearm and told Moore, "Don't do it" before the acceleration, stepped out of the way and fired a single shot at Moore's vehicle as it zoomed away.
The aforementioned mom and her daughter were driving past the police vehicle when she heard a gunshot — after which the Cherokee collided with her own ride, a Jeep Wrangler. The two vehicles were briefly locked together; the Wrangler was dragged over a curb and onto a grassy median before the Cherokee broke free.
That's when a police pursuit of Moore got underway. It ended some distance away, near the intersection of 35th Avenue and Highway 34, when a Toyota Corolla smashed into the Cherokee after the latter ran a red light.
The Corolla was heavily damaged and the driver had to be transported to an area hospital as a result of the injuries she sustained.
As for Moore, he refused to open the Cherokee's door as officers closed in. He was eventually extracted through the driver's side window and taken into custody.
There's no mention in the document that Moore had a weapon — but the document details the offenses cited in the warrants and his criminal history.
The warrants list felony escape, failure to appear — larceny, failure to comply — domestic assault, failure to appear — criminal mischief, failure to appear — shoplifting, and identity theft.
His past crimes include criminal trespass, theft and fraud committed when he was a juvenile, plus adult convictions for fraud, assault and contempt of court.
This roster is likely to grow. The 19th Judicial District DA's office has now formally charged Moore with second-degree assault, vehicular assault, menacing, vehicular eluding, child abuse, third-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident. His next court appearance is May 13.
In the meantime, the officer who fired the shot has been placed on administrative leave — standard procedure in cases like this one. The DA's office points out that the results of the shooting investigation are pending, and a pursuit review is reportedly underway as well.
Here's a larger look at Moore's booking photo, followed by the affidavit.
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