Two officers who shot and injured Dana Bruce Ott
outside his home in northwest Colorado Springs did the right thing, District Attorney Dan May's office ruled. The decision was released on Christmas Eve.
Colorado Springs Police Officers Matthew Peterson
, hired in 2013, and Derek Wilson
, an 18-year veteran responded to a domestic disturbance on Lanagan Drive. When they arrived, officers saw Ott, who the DA's office says was armed with a firearm. "Mr. Ott verbally and physically threatened the officers with the rifle," the DA's report says. "Both officers ordered Mr. Ott to drop the rifle. Ott, still advancing, raised the rifle and assumed a shooting stance with the rifle at his shoulder pointed toward Officer Peterson."
The officers then drew down on Ott and fired. Ott was in critical condition for several days before being taken to jail and charged with felony menacing. The investigation determined Ott's rifle was a loaded air rifle mounted with a scope, which didn't have an orange safety tip that would have suggested it wasn't a real rifle.
Ott, who's an attorney, is free on bond, awaiting a court appearance on Feb. 8.
The DA's report also notes:
Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1-707 provides that an officer is justified in using reasonable and appropriate physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to defend himself from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of physical force while effecting or attempting to effect such an arrest, or 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 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.
Here's the entire report:
See related PDF
The DA's Office rarely finds officers at fault in shooting investigations. According to the DA's Office, from 2004 through July of this year — a period that spans three different administrations — the DA's Office has considered 44 cases of officers using excessive force. All but three involved an officer firing their weapon. In seven of the 44, the officer fired his or her weapon but missed.
Of the 41 people shot at, 22 died. Of those 22, three were ruled suicide by the El Paso County Coroner's Office.
Since July, the DA's Office ruled on Dec. 14 that Officer Jonathan Kay
in Fountain was found justified
in shooting and killing Patrick O'Grady
on Sept. 24.
Investigations pending include the shooting by police of Noah Harpham
, who shot and killed three people at random during a shooting spree east of downtown on Halloween morning.