Every day, Kimberly Beck wakes up feeling empty.

In her head, she runs through the body cam footage that shows the last moments of her son’s life.

At the end of her day, she goes to bed missing a piece of her, missing her son, and then repeats the routine the next day.

It’s been over a year since Gage Lorentz, 25, died at the hands of National Park Service Ranger Robert Mitchell in New Mexico at Carlsbad National Park.

And the family says they are still seeking justice.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” Beck told The Daily Sentinel. “I think one of the most difficult things is having to sit and watch no one be held accountable and try to put together the pieces of how this could have even happened.”

Beck and Lorentz’s father, Travis, have employed the help of Shannon Kennedy, a New Mexico civil rights attorney who represented the family of James Matthew Boyd, a man who was shot to death by police in Albuquerque in 2014.

The family filed a lawsuit against Mitchell, the ranger involved with Lorentz’s death. The suit alleges that Mitchell used excessive force in a violation of Lorentz’s Fourth Amendment Rights.

“Lawyers used to say that federal court is where civil rights cases go to die,” Kennedy said. “But we’re not going to let that happen. This case will not die. Justice will be served.”

On March 21, 2020, Lorentz was driving home to Montrose from working in a Texas oil field when Mitchell pulled over Lorentz for allegedly speeding. Body cam footage shows Mitchell asking Lorentz to take his hands out of his pockets, then quickly draws a taser and appears to fire.

Then, the footage stops for about 26 seconds.

When it resumes, Lorentz, is on the ground and Mitchell appears to shoot Lorentz twice — once in the leg and another in the chest. Mitchell claims it was out of self defense.

“The ranger’s actions were out of line and the first shot rendered my son helpless. And there was no need for him to fire that second shot,” Beck said. “Where do you draw the line between what is abuse of power by these people in a position of law? They’re supposed to serve and protect, yet they’re taking lives.”

On Wednesday, Kennedy submitted a stipulated dismissal of the claim that Mitchell failed to provide adequate medical care after the first shot to Lorentz. Video shows that Lorentz didn’t receive first aid until about 12 minutes after being shot. The U.S. Attorney’s Office claimed qualified immunity on that count, so Kennedy said withdrawing the charge will avoid unnecessary delay in the case.

While the civil court battle ensues, the family is trying to raise community awareness.

In October, Lorentz’s family and friends organized a march through downtown Grand Junction. They organized another through downtown Montrose last month to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Lorentz’s death. That demonstration drew a crowd of about 50 people, which was inspiring to Beck given the size of Montrose.

Raising awareness is key to their fight. Part of the suit is to pursue monetary gains, but the family is vocal about wanting to ensure that the shooting deaths of unarmed citizens comes to an end.

“We’ve tried to wake people up to being aware that this is happening in your own backyard, and it can happen to you and your family. Gage was a Fruita boy and was a country boy. You’re not immune to it,” Beck said. “This should matter because of the fact that somebody in a position of power abused that and stole my son’s life. If we don’t do something, it’s going to keep happening.”

Beck and her family aren’t alone.

Lorentz’s death is one of the pieces in a national movement against the shooting deaths of unarmed people at the hands of law enforcement.

The trial of Derek Chauvin is underway. Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, is accused of murdering George Floyd, a black man. Floyd’s death sparked one of the largest civil rights movements in U.S. History.

Though circumstances around Floyd’s and Lorentz’s death differ — as do the ensuing legal battles — Kennedy thinks both cases are alike.

“Both were denied medical care. The shot to Gage’s upper thigh was very treatable had he received medical care instead of a shot to his chest. In both cases, we see depravity from officers,” Kennedy said. “I hope this is one of the last cases like this I have to take. I think we’re at a turning point in our culture. With the death of Gage and the footage of George Floyd, I hope we’ll take a look and say that we need to invest in change.”

Kennedy and Beck are calling for cultural change, too. Kennedy said that Mitchell displayed what’s called the warrior mindset, a mantra that argues for officers to act as a soldier or fighter.

Instead, Kennedy said, they want park rangers to abide by the guardian mindset, which considers officers as defenders.

On the legal side, Kennedy is pushing for the missing 26 seconds of body cam footage to be released.

Nothing will fill the hole left by her son, but Beck hopes systemic change will spare other families from the same pain.

“Everything else across the country has steps and things taking place. Here, we have no answers,” Beck said. “It’s been one of the most difficult things, and all I can do is stay strong because I know that’s what my boy would want.”