Top Story #7: Troopers charged in death of unarmed man

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Ivan “Gene” Lawyer makes his first appearance in Judge Richard Gurley’s court in November. He is charged with criminally negligent homicide and criminal trespass in the July shooting death of Jason Kemp of Grand Junction.

A minor traffic accident investigation ended with an alleged illegal attempt by law enforcement officers to enter a Redlands home and an unarmed man shot dead.

Jason Kemp, 31, refused to open the front door at 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B, and demanded a search warrant as Colorado State Patrol troopers Ivan “Gene” Lawyer and Kirk Firko stood outside, repeatedly pounding and kicking at the door the night of July 20.

Three days after Kemp was fatally shot by Lawyer, The Daily Sentinel first reported details of Kemp’s death from eyewitness Ian Olson, 30, who eventually testified before a grand jury.

“This was completely unjustifiable,” Olson told the Sentinel.

The grand jury’s charges against Lawyer and Firko were announced on Oct. 21 and included counts of criminally negligent homicide and criminal trespass. It marked the first time in at least 30 years State Troopers were charged with criminal acts for on-duty, fatal use of firearms, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Lance Clem.

The troopers, on paid administrative leave since July 20, saw their pay suspended Oct. 21 pending outcome of their criminal cases.


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