3:13 pm - Sunday December 17, 5415

Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony

Fifteen names of Colorado Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty were added to the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial today.  Five names of officers killed in 2012 and 10 historical additions to the monument. A complete list of the names and descriptions are at the end of this document.

Nearly 300 families and friends of the fallen officers and members of law enforcement from across Colorado attended.

This year, four foot by 10 foot banners were hung outside during the ceremonies with the pictures of the 2012 officers who gave their lives in the line of duty from the Denver Police Department, Englewood Police Department, Colorado Springs Police Department, Lakewood Police Department and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.


James Davis, Executor Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety gave the Memorial address.


The complete Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony Program follows:


  • Music 9:30-10:00 a.m., Colorado Emerald Society
  • Invocation 10:00 a.m. Chaplain Carl Nelson,Colorado Springs Police Department
  • Posting of Colors, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office
  • National Anthem, Trooper Kelby Siegfried, Colorado State Patrol
  • Presentation of Wreath‘s by Department Chief/Sheriff Englewood, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo County and Lakewood
  • Moment of Silence
  • Reading of the Names
  • Presentation of State Wreath/Proclamation/Memorial Address, James H. Davis, Executive Director Colorado Department of Public Safety
  • Benediction, Elder James W. Billings, Jr., Pueblo Police Department (Retired Chief)
  • Amazing Grace
  • Rifle Salute, Lakewood Police Department
  • Taps, Lee A. Ulshoffer, (Retired Sergeant) Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dove Release, White Birds Unlimited
  • Memorial Names 2013 Ceremony
  • Englewood Police Detective Jeremy Bitner, 39, was struck by a hit and run driver, while on a traffic stop, on May 27, 2012.  This occurred in the 5200 Block of South Broadway.  He died from his injuries the next day.  Officer Bitner had been with Englewood PD for over 7 years and was survived by his wife and two children.  The hit and run driver was captured a short while later in Littleton and received multiple charges including DUI.
  • Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis, 32, was shot and killed on June 24, 2012, while working a Jazz concert at Denver’s City Park.  She was responding to a reported gang fight when struck in the head by a bullet.  The shooter was captured by other responding officers and charged with First Degree Murder.  Officer Hollis served the Detroit Police Department for 4 years before joining the Denver Police Department in 2005.  She was survived by her daughter Amyre, her parents and numerous other relatives.
  • Colorado Springs Police Officer Matthew Tyner, 42, died from injuries he received when he was involved in a collision with another vehicle during a police pursuit.  He was on his police motorcycle, pursuing another motorcycle, when a vehicle turned in front of him.  The other driver did not see Officer Tyner approaching when he made his turn.  The pursued motorcycle was not caught.  Officer Tyner had been with CSPD for 13 years and was survived by his mother and step-father and two brothers.
  • Pueblo County S.O. Captain Leide William DeFusco, 44, died in an airplane crash on August 31, 2012 while working as an aerial Marijuana Spotter attempting to locate illegal Marijuana grows in the San Isabel National Forest.  The plane was piloted by retired Pueblo Police Captain John Barger who also died in the crash.  Captain DeFusco had 22 years in law enforcement and had been with the Pueblo County SO for 5 years.  He served previously with the Pueblo Police Department and was survived by his wife and 4 children.
  • Lakewood Police Agent James Jeffery Davies, 35, died early in the morning of November 9, 2012 when he was accidently shot and killed by another officer during a search of a residence at 1940 Eaton St.  Lakewood Officers had responded to the house on a report of “Shots fired” and had arrested 3 ‘uncooperative’ subjects.  Three pit bull dogs were reported in the residence and movement was monitored through windows.  Animal catch poles and tactical mirrors were brought to the scene to capture the dogs and complete the search of the house.  While clearing the carport and yard an agent spotted a head looking over the fence with a gun in his hand.  He fired when the male subject did not respond to verbal commands to drop the gun.  Agent Davies was in full police uniform but it was obscured by the fence and darkness.  Agent James Davies had been with Lakewood PD for over 6 years and was survived by his wife and two children.


Historical Deaths for 2013 ceremony

Bent County S.O. Deputy Ora M. Nason, 42, died on September 20, 1873 from an accidental bullet wound.  He was patrolling in Las Animas on September 18, 1873 when his gun fell and hit the ground.  He picked it up and while placing it in his waistband it discharged with the ‘ball striking him in the abdomen’.  Deputy Nason had lived in Las Animas for 4 years.  He was a veteran having served in the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War and even spent several months as a prisoner at Libby.  Deputy was survived by his brother.


Rio Grande County S.O. Undersheriff Zack Allen, 41, died on August 9, 1875 when he was accidently shot and killed by another officer.  Undersheriff Allen and a Del Norte police officer had arrested two men for stealing horses out of Lake City the previous day.  The officers received word that friends of the horse thieves were going to try and free the prisoners.  Allen had the Del Norte officer guard the jail that night and they arranged a sign so he would know if Allen returned.  About 2 AM Undersheriff Allen returned to the jail but failed to give the sign when challenged on his approach.  The jailer fired his shotgun and Allen was struck by about 20 pellets of ‘duck shot’.  He died about 6 hours later and admitted that he should have given the agreed upon sign.  Undersheriff Zack Allen had previously served on term as Sheriff of Huerfano County and two terms of Sheriff of Pueblo County.  He was survived by his wife and 4 children.


Las Animas Town Constable Charles Kast, 49, was shot and killed on February 8, 1876 while trying to break up a disturbance in a saloon called ‘Old John’s Dive’.  A man refused to cooperate and pulled a gun shooting Constable Kast once in the chest.  Kast returned fire without effect.  The suspect escaped on horseback but was captured about 6 hours later and returned to the sheriff.  The suspect was convicted and sentenced to the Territorial Prison at Canon City.   Constable Kast was had served in that position for 2 years.  He was born in Germany but was an 18 year veteran of the U. S. Army and had spent 26 years on the ‘frontier’.  He spoke Spanish, German and English fluently.


Pueblo Police Officer Alvin Phippenney, 32, was shot and killed about noon on June 30, 1879 while trying to break up a disturbance in a saloon.  He attempted to disarm a rancher who had been drinking heavily and they ended up wrestling in the saloon and out the door.  Witnesses stated that 5 or 6 shots were fired.  Officer Phippenney was shot in the back and died about 15 minutes later.  The rancher was also shot, survived and escaped about a week later.  Another man assisted the rancher and he left town right after the shooting.  Neither suspect was ever caught.  Officer Phippenney had lived in Pueblo for over 2 years.  He was a widower with several small children and was planning to be married on the day of his death.


Central Pueblo Marshal Casper Zweifel, 37, was stabbed and killed on July 25, 1884 by a prisoner he was escorting to jail.  Marshal Zweifel had arrested the man for passing counterfeit silver dollars in a saloon.  The silver dollars were made of pewter and were lighter than the real ones.  The suspect had a knife with a 4 inch blade which he pulled out and used to stab the Marshal while they were walking to jail.  The suspect stabbed the marshal in the groin at the top of each leg and then took off.  Marshal Zweifel attempted to pursue but bled to death in just a few minutes as one of the stab wounds struck the femoral artery.  A pursuit began but the suspect escaped and was never caught.  Marshal Zweifel had just been appointed to his post earlier in the week.  He was a veteran of the U. S. Army and had served in Missouri.  He was born in Switzerland and was survived by his wife.


Walsenburg Police Chief Jack Rose, 27, and State Prohibition Officer Henry E. Robart, 38, were both shot and killed on January 15, 1924 while serving a search warrant for an illegal still at a residence in Walsenburg.  They were ambushed upon entry by a subject that then fled the scene.  The suspect was located at a rural ranch three days later but committed suicide, with the same gun he used to kill the officers, prior to being captured.  Chief Rose was a veteran of the ‘Great War’ and had been gassed in the trenches just a month prior to the end of the war.  He had been Chief for 8 months at the time of his death.  Officer Robart was a former construction worker and had been a prohibition officer for just 4 months before his death.  Each officer was survived by his wife and three children.


National Park Service Ranger Kenneth Meenan, 22, died on August 13, 1934 from injuries he received in a motor vehicle crash on August 5, 1934.  Seasonal Ranger Meenan was driving his NPS motorcycle north from the Grand Lake entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park when he was involved in a collision with a car.  His left foot was nearly crushed and even amputating his leg failed to stop the septic poisoning.  Ranger Meenan was from Oak Park, Illinois and starred in Football at Northwestern University.


Denver Police Officer Edward Smerdel, 34, died on July 16, 1961 as a result of an accidental gunshot wound while cleaning his weapon at the Five Points substation on Welton St.  He was attempting to clean his gun prior to an inspection the next day and inadvertently shot himself in the chest.  Officer Smerdel had been with the Denver Police Department for over 11 years and had received sixteen commendations including one for saving the life of a 3 year old.  He was survived by his wife and daughter.

National Park Service Ranger Nathanial R. Lacy, 43, died on June 23, 1966 as a result of a solo motorcycle accident about 300 yards west of the Fall River entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.  He usually checked out the Aspenglen campground, and the horses stabled at Little Horseshoe Park, each evening.  The accident was not discovered until the next morning.  He had gone off the road but the reason was never determined.  Ranger Lacy started with the National Park Service in 1947 as a seasonal ranger.  He also served in Parks in South Dakota, North Dakota and the Virgin Islands before coming to Rocky Mountain National Park in 1963.  Ranger Lacy was survived by his wife and three children.




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