Fruita police: Man pointed gun at officers

The man shot and killed by three Fruita police officers over the weekend fled an attempted traffic stop, later emerged from a home and pointed a handgun at the officers, police announced this afternoon.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office earlier today identified the man as Lewis Pollard, 61, of Fruita, and confirmed he died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police announced in a news release that officers stopped the driver of a Ford Ranger truck for a traffic violation on Colorado Highway 340 at Jurassic Avenue early Saturday morning. The driver, who wasn’t identified at that time, drove away from the stop after a brief verbal encounter with police. The officers didn’t pursue the driver, per department policy, but did see the truck turn onto Red Cliffs Drive, according to the release.

The officers located the Ford Ranger a short time later parked at 159 Hollyberry Way and heard yelling inside the residence. They knocked on the trailer and asked for the occupant and driver of the vehicle to come outside, according to the release.

A man, later identified as Pollard, exited the trailer and confronted the three officers, Sgt. Kevin Paquette and officers Andrew Courtney and Steve Lentz, who were in front of the trailer. Pollard pulled a gun and pointed it at the officers, who then fired at Pollard. Pollard died at the scene, according to the release.

“During the initial stop the the contact outside the residence with Pollard, he consistently made statements that were consistent to the ideology of those associated with the Sovereign Citizen movement who do not recognize established government entities,” police said in the release.

Paquette, Courtney and Lentz have all been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting with the Fruita Police Department, police said.

The incident is being investigated by the Critical Incident Response Team, which consists of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, the Grand Junction Police Department, the Fruita Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo was expected to meet with the media later this afternoon.

Read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel.


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