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How Cops Explain CO's Ten Officer-Involved Shootings in 2019 So Far

How Cops Explain CO's Ten Officer-Involved Shootings in 2019 So Far
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In early 2018, there were fourteen officer-involved shootings in Colorado between January 1 and February 10 — numbers that struck locals as absolutely shocking.

But 2019 appears to be on pace for a similar level of police-related bloodshed.

From January 1 to today, January 21, there have been ten officer-involved shootings in the state — and they occurred during an eight-day span, from January 9 to January 16.

As described by a wide variety of law enforcement agencies whose accounts are reproduced below, the shootings vary widely. But several of them have common elements, including stolen cars, disturbances in parking lots, car chases and people who've had previous brushes with the law — some major, some minor — taking bullets from police officers. Not all of them survived.

Continue to get details on all ten shootings to date.

Photos of Simon "Elijah" Gurule shared by the Pueblo Police Department.
Photos of Simon "Elijah" Gurule shared by the Pueblo Police Department.
Pueblo Police Department

Number 1: January 9, 2019

Source: Pueblo Police Department

"On January 9, 2019 at approximately 12:47 p.m., a Pueblo police officer was patrolling an area on Pueblo’s west side. As the officer was patrolling the area, he discovered two vehicles parked in an alley in the 1100 block of W. 13th Street. The officer stopped to investigate and discovered a late model Subaru that was occupied by three persons. Adjacent to the Subaru was a black, late-model Volkswagen sedan. The driver of the Volkswagen was outside of the vehicle, on foot near the front door of a residence. The officer contacted the driver of the Volkswagen and occupants of the Subaru, at which point he discovered that the Subaru was stolen. As additional officers were arriving on scene, the driver of the Volkswagen quickly entered the vehicle. The officer rushed after the male and attempted to prevent him from escaping, but the driver was able to speed away down an alley. The driver of the Subaru sped away in a different direction, striking a back-up officer who was on foot and had just arrived on scene. As the Subaru struck the back-up officer, the investigating officer fired at least one round at the driver. The Subaru then sped away and other officers initiated a vehicle pursuit.

"A short time later, the vehicle pursuit came to an end when the stolen Subaru crashed into a home at the corner of E. 9th Street and Norwood Avenue. At this time three parties were taken into custody, including the driver who had been shot one time in the torso. At least two firearms were located in the vehicle. The driver, who was identified as 18-year-old Coda Hutton-Hayes, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Hutton-Hayes will be booked into the Pueblo County Detention Center on various charges, including Motor Vehicle Theft, upon his release from the hospital.

"The driver of the Volkswagen, who has been identified as 21-year-old Simon Eugene 'Elijah' Gurule, Jr., is still at large. He is wanted for several charges, including Motor Vehicle Theft. The Pueblo Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Gurule. The Volkswagen, which was also stolen, was located unoccupied in the area of S. Hudson Avenue and Catalpa Street. The officer who was struck by the Subaru was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

"The Tenth Judicial District Critical Incident Team was activated and initiated an investigation into the incident. This is the Pueblo Police Department’s first officer-involved shooting of 2019."

Note: Simon Gurule was taken into custody on January 10 after a five-hour standoff.

The incident took place in the parking lot of this mall in Westminster.
The incident took place in the parking lot of this mall in Westminster.
Google Maps

Number 2: January 10, Westminster

Source: Westminster Police Department

"This evening around 7:30 p.m., two Westminster Police Officers were in the area of the 14400 block of Huron Street. The two police officers were not working at the time of this incident.

"The officers heard a disturbance between a male and female in the parking lot of the mall. The officers attempted to intervene, and identified themselves as police officers. The male suspect attempted to leave the parking lot in a vehicle and may have struck one of the officers. At least one of the officers fired their gun. The suspect vehicle then left the parking lot.

"A short time later, Westminster Police were notified the male suspect was at an area hospital with gunshot wounds. His condition is unknown at this time, but he is expected to survive his injuries.

"The female subject was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries from the initial disturbance.

"Both officers will be placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol, while the incident is being investigated.

"The investigation will be handled by the 17th Judicial District Critical Incident Investigation Team."

Number 3: January 12, Colorado Springs

Source: El Paso County Sheriff's Office

"On Saturday, January 12, 2019, at approximately 4:50 a.m., officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) contacted a suspicious male party in a stolen vehicle parked in the parking lot of Elevate Apartments, located in the 400 block of Crestone Lane. During the contact, the male party began struggling with officers and shots were fired. The suspect was armed with a hatchet.

"The officer involved in this incident is Officer Brock Lofgren. Officer Lofgren has been employed by the Colorado Springs Police Department since February 12, 2014, and is currently assigned to the Gold Hill Division, Shift III.

"As a result of Senate Bill 15-219, Concerning Measures to Provide Additional Transparency to Peace Officer-Involved Shootings, the El Paso County Deadly Force Investigation Team will be investigating this officer-involved shooting."

Note: The aforementioned male party was killed in the incident. He was later identified as Bill Gerald Akes.

The 2600 block of Bradbury Court in Fort Colins.
The 2600 block of Bradbury Court in Fort Colins.
Google Maps

Number 4: January 12, Fort Collins

Source: Larimer County Sheriff's Office

"The 8th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) has been activated to investigate an officer-involved shooting that occurred in Fort Collins.

"At 10:04 p.m. on January 12, 2019, Fort Collins 9-1-1 received multiple reports of a person actively shooting in the 2600 block of Bradbury Court.

"Fort Collins Police arrived in the area and located an armed male in the street involved in a confrontation with a female. One officer fired his duty weapon, striking the male suspect. The suspect was transported to Medical Center of the Rockies with injuries. No officers were injured. One person sustained minor injuries during the initial incident and was cleared by medical crews at the scene.

"CIRT was notified and has responded to take over the investigation. The investigation is ongoing."

Note: The suspect in his case was later identified as Joshua Moore, 36. The Larimer County coroner's office has concluded that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Near the scene of the Pueblo shooting.
Near the scene of the Pueblo shooting.
Courtesy of KRDO

Number 5: Pueblo County, January 13

Source: Pueblo County Sheriff's Office

"A vehicle pursuit that began in Fremont County after the driver hit one patrol vehicle, attempted to hit another and then drove at a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy ended with a fatal officer-involved shooting Sunday night [January 13] in Pueblo West.

"One suspect died and a second suspect suffered life-threatening injuries after shots were fired during the incident. No deputies were injured.

"At about 10:30 p.m., Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies were attempting to stop a vehicle that had eluded law enforcement in Fremont County. The vehicle hit a Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy vehicle and nearly hit a Canon City police officer patrol car as it drove recklessly and at a high rate of speed eastbound on U.S. Highway 50.

"Pueblo County Deputies were notified that the suspect vehicle was headed into Pueblo County and quickly located it and attempted to stop it. The driver eluded deputies driving recklessly along U.S. Highway 50 before turning north. To disable the vehicle, a patrol deputy executed a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT maneuver) which pushed the vehicle into an open field near Platteville Boulevard and Matt Drive. After the PIT maneuver was employed, the driver continued through the fields and re-entered the roadway on McClave Drive. A second PIT maneuver was executed on the vehicle near N. Chaparral Drive and McClave Drive, with the vehicle coming to rest in a front yard in the 700 block of N. Chaparral. As deputies approached the vehicle, the driver drove toward a Sheriff’s Deputy when shots were fired.

"The female driver was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. A male passenger died at the scene. The suspects' names have not been released.

"The name of the deputy involved in the incident is not being released at this time. The deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave as per Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure.

"The 10th Judicial District Critical Incident team was activated and is conducting the incident investigation. The CIT includes members of the Pueblo Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol, the Pueblo County District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office. The Pueblo Police Department is the lead investigative agency for this incident."

Note: The man who died in the incident was subsequently identified as Amiliano Apodaca.

Number 6: January 14, Frisco

Source: 5th Judicial District DA's office

"On January 14, 2019 at approximately 7:30 p.m., in the Town of Frisco, there was an officer involved shooting. A Town of Frisco police officer fired two rounds in a disturbance occurring in the parking lot at a Whole Foods store, after the suspect threatened the officer’s personal safety with the vehicle he was driving. The suspect, later identified as Derek Baker, a thirty-three-year-old resident of Loveland, Colorado, was wounded in the arm. Baker was transported to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, treated and released.

"Upon his release, he was booked into the Summit County Detention facility on charges of attempted vehicular assault, menacing, eluding and disorderly conduct. He was due to be advised in Summit County Court today. However, due to a medical issue, not directly related to this incident, his advisement hearing has been postponed and will be rescheduled as soon as he is capable of appearing in court.

"The matter is being investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Due to the complexity of the investigation, final criminal charges will likely be delayed until the Office of the District Attorney can review available records and reports.

"The officer who shot Baker has been placed on administrative leave by the Town of Frisco Police Department, a standard practice in such an incident."

The morning after outside the shooting scene in Aurora.
The morning after outside the shooting scene in Aurora.

Number 7: Aurora, January 15

Source: Aurora Police Department

"On Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 1:59 a.m. the Aurora Police Department Public Safety Communications Department received a 911 call from an occupant of a residence at 1473 South Kenton Street, who was reporting a party inside the home was armed with a firearm and acting erratically.

"As officers arrived they could hear active gunfire. Officers were confronted by an armed adult male who was wearing body armor. The armed male exchanged gunfire with officers. The armed party was struck by gunfire which stopped the ongoing and active threat.

"Soon thereafter, officers discovered another adult male suffering from apparent gunshot wounds.

"Both the armed party and injured adult male found lying on the floor were transported to a local hospital where they both succumbed to their injuries.

"Officers present at the scene were equipped with and properly utilized department issued body-worn cameras.

"This investigation is being handled by the Major Crimes/Homicide Unit in conjunction with the Denver Police Department. This is due to the passage of Senate Bill 15-219 which requires law enforcement agencies to team up with neighboring agencies to investigate officer involved shootings."

Note: The men who died in this incident were later identified as Esmond Drauvon Trimble and Dean Craig Heerdt.

Photos from our followup post about the Englewood incident, "Close Call at Swedish Medical Center Police Shooting."
Photos from our followup post about the Englewood incident, "Close Call at Swedish Medical Center Police Shooting."
Deb Roberts

Number 8: January 16, Englewood

Source: Englewood Police Department

"On January 16, 2019, at approximately 7:45 a.m., Englewood Police Officers responded to a parking garage in the area of East Hampden Avenue and South Washington Street, on a report of an occupied stolen vehicle.

"Upon arrival, officers located the stolen vehicle, which was occupied by two individuals. During the interaction, a 26-year-old female was shot. She was transported to a local hospital and is listed in critical condition. A 35-year-old male was taken into custody during the contact. No officers were injured during the incident, and there is no threat to the community.

"The officer(s) involved in this incident have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol anytime there is an officer-involved-shooting. The investigation has been turned over to the 18th Judicial District Critical Response Team."

The 600 block of 14th Street in Fort Lupton.
The 600 block of 14th Street in Fort Lupton.
Google Maps

Number 9: January 16, Fort Lupton

Source: Weld County Sheriff's Office

"At approximately 13:41 hours, on January 16, 2019, Fort Lupton officers were involved in a shooting after responding to a disturbance in the 600 block of 14th St in Fort Lupton, Colorado. The 19th Judicial Critical Incident Response Team was activated to handle this investigation.

"During this incident, one Officer from the Fort Lupton Police Department was involved in a police shooting in which one adult male suspect was declared dead at the scene. The officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave by the Fort Lupton Police Department pending the outcome of this investigation....

"This is an active investigation, and more details will be released as they become available."

Note: The person killed in this incident was subsequently identified as 46-year-old Shawn Joseph Billinger.

After the shooting in Evans.EXPAND
After the shooting in Evans.
CBS4 via YouTube

Number 10: January 16, Evans

Sources: Greeley Police Department Twitter and media reports

At approximately 10:25 p.m. on the 16th, according to a news release from the Greeley Police Department, a police officer shot a driver in Evans following a high-speed chase on Highway 85 north of Platteville. But it appears the GPD has taken the unusual step of removing the release from online and offering a pair of tweets that distance the department from the incident. They read: "Regarding the Officer Involved shooting last night (01/16/19) at, Highway 85 and 42nd street in Evans.... The only involvement the Greeley Police Department has in this incident is being a part of the 19th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Our Agency is helping with the investigation. We were not involved in either the pursuit or the shooting."

This move by the Greeley police is likely explained by two factors: the officer who fired the shot is employed by the City of LaSalle, and the person who was hit and wound up in critical condition was a deputy with the Adam's County Sheriff's Office. The deputy, Jesse Jenson, later died of his injuries.

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