A lawsuit filed in Albuquerque, New Mexico questions the circumstances surrounding the death of Charles “Gage” Lorentz, who was shot and killed by a park ranger in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico in March.
Lorentz graduated from Fruita Monument High School in 2013 and his family and friends, many of whom are still on the Western Slope, want answers as to why he was killed that day.
“On the day that this ranger shockingly and unnecessarily killed our son, he was returning home from working on the oil rigs in Texas,” his mother Kimberly Beck wrote in a GoFundMe campaign she created.
Beck said she spoke with him while he was on his way home that day.
“This ranger had absolutely no reason to use deadly force on Gage — he cold-heartedly murdered our son,” she wrote.
Lorentz was born and raised in Montrose.
In the months after his death, along with the GoFundMe campaign, the Facebook page “Justice For Gage Lorentz,” has been created, calling for justice for the young man from the Western Slope, along with a website www.justiceforgagelorentz.com. On Monday, a telephone campaign was organized online to petition New Mexico law enforcement and lawmakers to demand charges be brought against the park ranger involved.
Attorney Shannon Kennedy, who is representing the family in the lawsuit, demanded the ranger be fired and held accountable for his actions.
“This man should be in jail,” she said.
Kennedy said the ranger’s behavior that day was horrific and completely contrary to any de-escalation training she’s seen.
KOB4 in Albuquerque showed body-camera footage of the shooting in a news story last month, which has since garnered response from New Mexico lawmakers who are also seeking answers in the case. Kennedy said Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also reached out and showed his support for the family as well.
The Federal Torts claim was filed against the U.S. Government in June, which Kennedy said “puts the ranger’s employers on notice” for the wrongful death of Lorentz.
Kennedy also questioned why the ranger, a former EMT who is qualified for CPR, failed to render any emergency medical care for Lorentz after the shooting.
“As a direct and proximate result of (the ranger’s) needless assaults, batteries, failure to provide medical care and false imprisonment of Gage in this case, Gage suffered... loss of life,” the claim reads.
Kennedy also filed a writ of mandamus, demanding all their open records requests are met.
“We want the truth and we’re going to fight for as much evidence as we can,” she said.
Among the evidence she still seeks is around 20 seconds missing of body-camera footage. The criminal investigation into Lorentz’s death is under review by the local district attorney’s office.
Lorentz’s obituary said he was a hard-working, dedicated young man who enjoyed exploring with four-wheeling, and hunting and rebuilding vehicles with his dad.