The Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office has completed an investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred in in Manitou Springs, Colorado on May 11, 2013. Following a careful review of the facts and evidence surrounding the incident, it has been determined that the officer’s use of force against the suspect was reasonable and justified.
On May 11, 2013, at 2:00 a.m., Manitou Springs Police Department (MSPD) officers were dispatched to the LaFon Motel, 123 Manitou Avenue, Room number 30. The nature of the dispatch was that a male occupant of the room had a warrant for his arrest. Officers additionally received information that a possible illegal gun transaction was taking place inside the hotel room.
MSPD Officers Joshua Thomas and Cary Noll responded to the LaFon Motel. As the officers were attempting to contact the occupants of the room, a male party, later identified as Christopher Clemons (9/30/1975), came out of the room and was approached by Officer Thomas. Contrary to commands given by officers, Clemons ran from them. Officer Thomas chased Clemons. As the suspect ran away from Officer Thomas he fired a handgun towards Officer Thomas. Officer Thomas returned fire, hitting Clemons once in the hip.
Upon checking, Clemons had a warrant for his arrest for a parole violation – escape. After being treated on scene, Clemons was taken to Penrose Main Hospital where he was later medically cleared and then arrested for the warrant.
The Office of the District Attorney, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Manitou Springs Police conducted an investigation into the shooting. Investigators collected a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun from the scene as well as an expended shell casing and a projectile that had been removed from a hotel room door to the west of the LaFon hotel. The shell casing and projectile were identified as having come from the .45 handgun that was in the possession of Christopher Clemons. Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1-707 provides that an officer is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be imminent use of deadly physical force, or to effect an arrest of a person he reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon, or otherwise indicated that he is likely to endanger human life or to inflict serious bodily injury to another unless apprehended without delay. In addition, Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1-704 provides all citizens with the right to defend themselves with deadly force if they reasonably believe they are in imminent danger of being killed or receiving great bodily injury and reasonably believe a lesser degree of force is inadequate.
The District Attorney’s Office conducts independent investigations and reviews all incidents involving a discharged weapon by an officer. The facts and evidence from this particular investigation demonstrate that Officer Joshua Thomas acted reasonably and was justified in defending himself and others from the imminent use of deadly physical force by Christopher Clemons. Because the officer’s actions were justified under Colorado law, no further investigation or criminal charges will be pursued related to the discharge of Officer Thomas’s gun. Criminal charges including attempted first degree murder of a peace officer have been filed against Christopher Clemons. Clemons is in the custody of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Clemons is presumed innocent. His next court date is July 24, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
For further information, please contact Lee Richards at 520-6084.