Trooper knocks, fires fatal shot
Two next-door neighbors who said they were witnesses to a fatal confrontation Tuesday night at a Redlands home said a law enforcement officer loudly identified himself, pounded on the home’s front door and yelled for people inside to open it.
Juan Ramirez, 25, who rents one of two units in a duplex at 105 Glade Park Road, said he was on his front porch when a lone shot rang out from the doorway of 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B.
“Not two seconds (after the door opened), the shot went off,” he said.
It wasn’t clear whether the door was opened from inside, or forced from outside, Ramirez said, adding he couldn’t see whether anyone in the home brandished weapons.
Another neighbor in a separate unit at 105 Glade Park Road spoke on the condition of anonymity and described a nearly identical verbal confrontation. The neighbor added, however, that an officer appeared to wedge a foot into the doorway, preventing people inside from shutting the door. The officer shoved another object into the door, before it swung open.
“He shot the guy,” the neighbor said.
Jason A. Kemp, 31, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday evening.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. John Hahn on Wednesday confirmed an “exchange” between a trooper and Kemp happened in the doorway of the Redlands home. Hahn declined to elaborate, telling reporters during a news conference Wednesday that an investigation would determine whether a weapon was brandished, among a host of unanswered questions.
The State Patrol declined to identify the trooper who shot Kemp. The trooper, however, was among three who have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of criminal and internal investigations, Hahn said.
The trooper involved in the shooting joined the State Patrol in September 1998, left in March 2007 and was reinstated in March, Hahn said.
Mesa County’s critical-incident team, which is made up of officers from several Grand Valley law enforcement agencies, including the State Patrol, will conduct the investigation of the shooting.
Hahn said Kemp is believed to be the same man who “at some point” was behind the wheel of a Ford pickup that was involved in a traffic accident on the front lawn of 2501 South Broadway. The accident was reported to dispatchers at 7:40 p.m.
Initial information suggested the occupants of the pickup were trying to flee, and alcohol was suspected as a factor by those who called in the report, Hahn said.
Watercraft off trailer
Witnesses implicated a man and a Ford pickup, which was parked in a nearby driveway at 103 Glade Park Road, unit B. Troopers walked across the road to investigate, Hahn said.
Reports of shots fired aired around 8 p.m.
A 67-year-old man who lives at 2501 South Broadway said he arrived home to find an overturned personal watercraft, which had fallen off a trailer hauled by a pickup, at the bottom of his front yard. Large divots remained in the lawn Wednesday showing a semi-circular path he believes was left by the truck.
“There were three guys trying to winch (a watercraft) back on the trailer,” said the man, who spoke on a condition he not be named. He said the men were apologetic, one of them saying, “The accelerator got stuck,” while promising to return and fix his lawn. They gathered the watercraft and other property before returning to 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B. Just before the accident, Ramirez said, a man who was driving the Ford pickup made several unsuccessful tries to back the vehicle and trailer into the driveway.
The residence, a three-level duplex, is owned by Mesa residents Delbert and Lois McClure, who said the current tenant is a woman in her 20s who signed a year-long rental agreement in January or February. McClure said the woman’s boyfriend had also been staying there.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday did not respond to requests for data showing a recent history of law enforcement contacts at the residence.
“I never had any negative encounters with the guy,” Ramirez said of Kemp.