Christian McCracken, Boulder cop charged in murder try, quits before he can be disciplined

Yesterday, an Internal Affairs Review Panel was set to issue findings regarding Boulder Police officer Christian McCracken, charged with attempted first-degree murder in a case that allegedly involved him stalking and harassing his ex-girlfriend. McCracken apparently realized the results wouldn't be favorable: He resigned an hour before the panel would have lowered the boom on him.

As we previously reported, McCracken's name first hit the Boulder Daily Camera in relation to a strange incident that took place last summer.

On a Sunday night in August 2011, McCracken was reportedly called to The Sink, the Boulder restaurant President Barack Obama visited before speaking at CU-Boulder in April. There, he encountered Trevan Hunter, a CU student who allegedly refused to leave the bar or pony up the $3 he owed -- and when the manager tried to escort him out, he received numerous blows to the head for his trouble.

McCracken got pretty much the same treatment. Hunter, who was on probation for driving while ability impaired, is said to have socked him in the noggin so hard that the officer actually lost consciousness.

Earlier this year, Hunter pleaded guilty to third-degree assault on a police officer.

In the meantime, McCracken went on medical leave due to the injuries he sustained, with his girlfriend, a Boulder Police dispatcher, helping to care for him during his convalescence. But as time marched on, she told investigators that McCracken started acting oddly, as if he'd lost touch with reality.

His behavior was reportedly strange when it came to their relationship as well. McCracken is said to have called about ending the pairing in March, then changed his mind -- and when his girlfriend didn't welcome him back, he responded with multiple text messages (as many as twenty per day), plus lots of phone calls and Facebook posts.

Things got weirder the following month, when the dispatcher began to fear McCracken was following her, apparently because he thought her friendship with a fellow dispatcher had developed into something deeper. That led to an alleged threat against the male dispatcher delivered by McCracken after he pounded on her door one Thursday in late Apri;.

These words became even more chilling the next day, when McCracken is accused of grabbing two of his guns being stored at the police station and telling the fellow Boulder cop with whom he lived that he was going to murder the dispatcher while his ex watched, then shoot her dead and commit suicide.

Before any of these acts took place, the cop persuaded McCracken to check himself into a hospital -- and he was arrested there later that evening.

McCracken, who is said to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his time with the Marines, was originally charged only with felony stalking and harassment, but as the investigation continued, the Boulder cops eventually determined that he had "taken a significant step toward committing a homicide against the new boyfriend," according to a department release. Shortly thereafter, the Boulder District Attorney's Office determined that there was probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for attempted first-degree murder.

Days later, more trouble: McCracken became the target of drug allegations related to Schedule III narcotics. Longmont Police Department Commander Jeff Satur told us that McCracken's roommate called the LPD the day after McCracken's arrest by the Broomfield Police and gave officers an envelope that had been delivered to their Longmont home. "Inside that envelope was a Skittles package," Satur said. "And inside that were narcotics" -- specifically Acetaminophen/Hydrocodone and Vicodin/Loratab tablets that he's thought to have obtained illegally.

Despite all the accusations against him, McCracken made bail and was given permission to leave the state, although he'll have to return before long: The Camera reports that his criminal trial is slated to begin on November 5. In the meantime, the aforementioned Internal Affairs Review Panel began looking into the allegations against him and eventually determined that he had violated what's referred to in a release as "Boulder Police Department Rule #2, Conformance with Laws." But before disciplinary action could be taken against him, he resigned via a letter submitted by his attorney.

The panel would likely have recommended that McCracken be fired, but doing so wasn't necessary. As the department points out in its release, "Christian McCracken is no longer a member of the Boulder Police Department" -- because he figuratively jumped before he could be pushed.

Here's a larger look at McCracken's mug shot.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Wes Specht, Alameda High coach dubbed 'Wild Man,' found guilty of sex with student."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts