An armed 57-year-old Rifle man was shot and killed Monday evening by Rifle police officers who sought to arrest him on a warrant issued out of Eagle County the same day on suspicion of sexual exploitation.
Allan Thomas George died in the incident, Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire said. An autopsy is scheduled for today.
The incident happened when the suspect was stopped on an active warrant, according to a news release from the multiagency 9th Judicial District Critical Incident Team, which is investigating the shooting per standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.
"He surfaced with a weapon in hand. Officers confronted him. The suspect would not comply with directives. For the health, safety and welfare of the general public as well as the Officers present, shots were fired," that release said.
The incident occurred during a vehicle stop on the Colorado River Bridge portion of Colorado Highway 13 in Rifle near the Interstate 70 exit. The bridge was closed during the initial investigation into the shooting.
Walt Stowe, spokesman for the investigation team and the Garfield County Sheriff's Office, said he believed the warrant was for a sex-related offense, but he didn't have further details. Bruce Brown, district attorney for the 5th Judicial District, which includes Eagle County, said an arrest warrant for an Allan Thomas George, 57, of Rifle, had been issued on Monday.
He said the warrant appears to have gone out for a charge of sexual exploitation, which usually is related to possession of child pornography.
"I guess we can quash our warrant," Brown said after learning of George's death.
The Rifle Police Department said in a news release Monday night, "Two officers made contact with the subject which unfortunately led to shots being fired. A weapon not belonging to the officers was found at the scene," the release said.
No officers were injured in the incident.
George was taken by ambulance to Grand River Hospital in Rifle. Glassmire said the coroner's office was dispatched to the hospital at 7:42 p.m. Monday.
The incident happened about 7:20 p.m. on Monday, according to the Critical Incident Team.
The team is looking for witnesses to the incident. They are asked to call Investigator Matt Jenness at 970-665-0220.
Those calling are asked to leave a voicemail with their full name, home address and phone number, as the team is expecting a large volume of calls. Stowe said Highway 13 in that area typically is heavily traveled at the time of day the incident took place.
"There were plenty of witnesses so we're hoping several will step forward," he said.
The Rifle Police Department also will conduct an administrative review, the department said.
The names of the officers involved in the shooting weren't released Tuesday. Rifle police declined to comment on the incident beyond what they said in their release.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation records show that George was a California native. They indicate he had been arrested in 2008 in Lake County on a felony charge of sexual exploitation of a child, and that charge eventually was deferred and then dismissed. Misdemeanor theft and disorderly conduct charges brought against George in Lake County at the same time as the other charge later were dropped by prosecutors.