Reports on fatal shooting by trooper in DA’s hands
An investigation into the fatal shooting of a man by a Colorado State Patrol trooper is in the hands of Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday said reports in the case were turned over to Hautzinger’s office Wednesday, a little more than five weeks after 31-year-old Jason Alan Kemp was shot and killed in what the State Patrol characterized as an “exchange” between Kemp and a trooper at the doorway of 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B.
Hautzinger on Thursday acknowledged receipt of the investigation, but he said he had yet to review reports and declined further comment. The DA declined to offer a time estimate for review and a possible charging decision.
The Sheriff’s Department was the lead agency in the investigation, among several agencies comprising Mesa County’s critical-incident team.
Three troopers, including the man who shot Kemp, remain on paid leave pending the results of the criminal and internal investigations, State Patrol spokesman Sgt. John Hahn said Thursday.
Kemp was shot July 20 in what multiple witnesses have described as a struggle between troopers and Kemp at the front door of the Redlands home after 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 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B, after the accident.
A witness, Ian Olson, 30, told The Daily Sentinel that Kemp was unarmed when he was shot, and Kemp was struck with a fluid, suspected to be pepper spray, moments before the shooting. Olson described Kemp as holding the front door closed as troopers tried to force it open.
Kemp was shot once in the chest.
Authorities have confirmed little about the incident and have not answered questions, citing the active investigation.
For Hautzinger, the case review will be his second officer-involved, fatal shooting in six months.
Hautzinger in March cleared a pair of Grand Junction Police Department officers in the death of 36-year-old Brent Ingram at the Timbers Motel, 1810 North Ave., on Feb. 28. Hautzinger ruled the officers were justified in firing four rounds, striking Ingram twice in the chest, when an intoxicated Ingram allegedly charged the officers with a knife inside a motel room.
Prior to this year, local officials hadn’t investigated a fatal, officer-involved shooting since a federal agent killed a suspect in May 2006 at an Orchard Mesa bowling alley.