Slain man’s widow questions use of force

Brent Ingram, killed by police on Feb. 28, 2010.

Nancy Ingram has two fatherless children, a dead husband she says she can’t afford to bury and more questions than answers about why he’s gone.

Then, she says, there are the nightly visions.

“All I can see is those two cops and Brent’s face,” Ingram said Monday night.

But it’s what she didn’t see that bothers her the most.

“He didn’t deserve this,” she said. “They could have shot him in the leg, in the arm. This could have been handled totally differently.”

Nancy Ingram said her husband, Brent, had been drinking heavily three days leading up to the events that eventually led to his shooting death by a pair of Grand Junction police officers Sunday afternoon at Room 18 of Timbers Motel, 1810 North Ave. She said she’d had enough of his drinking by 2 p.m. Sunday.

“I decided to leave him there (in room), I packed a few things and told him, ‘there’s the bar’,” Nancy Ingram said, referring to nearby Wrigley Field.

She said she walked to the motel’s main office, while her husband walked out of the room, before milling around the parking lot and returning.

“The manager told the clerk (at motel) to call the cops because he was drunk,” she said.

When officers arrived, they met her and her oldest son, Trent, 13, where officers listened and concluded a crime hadn’t been committed, according to Nancy Ingram’s account.

She said the officers wanted to contact her husband only after they checked his name in a database and discovered he had outstanding arrest warrants.

She said officers had just one question: Did he have weapons?

“I told them he may have a folding pocket knife that we used to prepare food,” Nancy Ingram said.

Her husband had fastened the door’s chain-link lock. She said she crawled into the room through an open window and called out for her husband. He didn’t respond.

After unlatching the door, she said she opened it, walked outside and ran two doors to the east.

“I didn’t want to see him get arrested,” she said.

The two officers entered the room, and she heard one of the officers ask her husband — who said nothing during the brief confrontation — if he was armed.

Voices were raised within seconds, she said.

“There was just yelling, screaming, ‘drop it,’ ” she said.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office on Monday said Brent Ingram, 39, died after he was shot twice in the chest.

Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper has said Ingram brandished a knife at the officers before he was shot, but authorities have said little else about Sunday’s events.

According to Nancy Ingram’s account, the officers then dragged her husband’s body to the doorway and removed his clothing.

“Even the underwear, his privates and everything were showing,” she said.

Her son, Trent, walked up on the scene, returning after a short walk because he said he didn’t want to see his father in handcuffs.

“When they put the sheet on him, I knew he was dead,” he said.

The officers involved in the shooting have not been identified by authorities. Police spokeswoman Kate Porras said both men have been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.

According to court records, Brent Ingram was serving a two-year term of supervised probation after pleading guilty in April 2009 to domestic violence charges involving his wife, in addition to guilty pleas related to separate drunken driving incidents.

Mesa County probation officials on Feb. 9 sought a warrant for his arrest, alleging he didn’t attend a December meeting with his probation officer, failed to pay some $235 in outstanding court fines and costs, and failed to attend domestic violence classes.

An arrest affidavit said Nancy Ingram told officers her husband struck her, scratching her right cheek, during an argument on Dec. 5, 2008, during which he was intoxicated.

Brent Ingram was sentenced on April 14, 2009, to serve 100 days in the Mesa County Jail and was released on Nov. 21.

Nancy Ingram said her husband worked odd jobs, but was unable to find permanent work since his release from jail.

The couple, along with their youngest child, Zane, 10, checked into the Timbers Motel two weeks ago.

In some of their last conversations, Nancy Ingram said, her husband vowed to sober up, after he promised he’d surrender to authorities on the outstanding warrant.

She said Zane was staying at a friend’s home at the time his father was killed.

“He told me (his dad) was in a better place,” Nancy Ingram said.


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