Fruita cops shoot man dead
Three Fruita police officers fatally shot a man early Saturday during a traffic stop, but couldn’t confirm whether he was armed or explain why he was shot while allegedly running away from police.
The man, whose name has not been released, “for some reason” tried to flee the scene after he was stopped at 12:40 a.m. Saturday, Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo said.
In addition to whether the man was armed, significant questions such as why the man was pulled over by police, where that traffic stop occurred or if he posed a threat to officers or the public were not addressed by either Angelo or Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin.
“What we know to this point, which is very, very brief, is that the individual ended up leaving the vehicle for some reason and got to a location in the 100 block of Hollyberry, and the officers were involved in a shooting of that subject,” Angelo said.
Benjamin is quoted in the Denver Post as saying officers on the scene believed the man had a gun, but she later told The Daily Sentinel the investigation was looking into whether he was armed.
“(That’s) part of the investigation currently being done by the critical incident team,” Benjamin said by email Saturday. “They are investigating the possibility of the suspect being armed, yes. The suspect ran from officers during the attempted traffic stop.”
Angelo and Benjamin said the officers and several other witnesses were being interviewed by a critical incident team made up of officials with the Fruita and Grand Junction police departments, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Benjamin said investigations of such officer-involved shootings are standard procedure.
She said that the investigation “will be a long process,” adding that the officers were not injured in the incident.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis said he had no details on the incident, but said the State Patrol was not involved.