Grand jury to decide State Trooper’s fate in deadly shooting
A grand jury will consider possible criminal charges against a Colorado State Patrol trooper who fatally shot a man in July, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said today.
“After review of the (critical incident team) investigation, I have questions about how a jury may view various issues involved,” Hautzinger wrote in a letter provided this morning to State Patrol Major Barry Bratt.
Hautzinger received reports in the case in late August, just over five weeks after 31-year-old Jason Alan Kemp was shot and killed in what the State Patrol called an “exchange” between Kemp and a trooper at a Redlands home. Hautzinger declined to identify the troopers involved, all of whom remain on paid administrative leave, and declined to answer questions about investigators’ conclusions on what happened in the incident.
The DA characterized Troopers’ handling of the incident as “troubling.”
“A large part of the reason I’ve asked the grand jury for a review is because this is by far the most difficult, and troubling, situation that the critical incident team has investigated since it was put into existence in 2004,” Hautzinger said in an interview.
Mesa County’s critical incident team includes a collection of local law enforcement officers. In Kemp’s case, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department was tabbed to be the lead agency in the investigation.
Kemp was shot July 20 after what witnesses described to The Daily Sentinel as a struggle between troopers and Kemp at the front door of 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B. Several troopers approached, identified themselves and began pounding and kicking at the door while ordering those inside to open the door.
Earlier, Kemp was the suspected driver of a pickup involved in a crash in front of a nearby home at 2501 South Broadway. Witnesses said Kemp, who had been drinking during a river trip earlier in the day, was among a group of men who walked back to the home after the crash. A witness, Ian Olson, 30, said Kemp was unarmed when he was shot.
Kemp died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The grand jury that will hear the investigation includes the same local residents who refused in June to bring charges against three people investigated for a medical-marijuana grow operation.
Hautzinger in March cleared two Grand Junction Police Department officers in the death of 36-year-old Brent Ingram at the Timbers Motel, 1810 North Ave., on Feb. 28, saying the officers were justified in shooting an intoxicated Ingram allegedly charged them with a knife inside a motel room.
Read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel.