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Officer involved shootings: four in Colorado since New Year's Day

Published On: Jan 06 2014 12:06:15 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 06 2014 01:07:14 AM CST

There have been four officer involved shootings in Colorado since the first of the year. Pueblo and Fremont County are two places in Southern Colorado where those incidents happened.

PUEBLO, Colo. -

There have been four officer involved shootings in Colorado in less than a week. 

Pueblo Police and SWAT shot and killed a shooting suspect Saturday night (1/4/14) after a standoff.

The initial victim was identified as 43-year old Alvino Hidalgo. Hildago was shot in the chest and escaped the scene to call police. Hidalgo was in ICU at last report.

The male suspected of shooting Hidalgo has been identified as 66-year-old Frankie Martinez. Martinez was later located at an apartment in the 1600 block of Gaylord where he was later shot by responding SWAT officers succumbing to his wounds.

In Arvada, police are investigating a suspect shot to death, unsure if an officer's gunfire killed the man.

Also in the Denver area, a man was killed after a car chase in which Thornton and Denver police opened fire. 

Finally, a Fremont County resident was shot three times by a Canon City police officer and a Fremont County sheriff's deputy on New Year's Day.

Officer involved shootings are investigated a little differently. The officer or officers involved never want to be in that situation.

Pueblo Police were under a high-stress situation on Jan. 4 when they found a shooting suspect at an apartment building on Gaylord Avenue.

"Suddenly, a gun appears and the person attempts to shoot the police officer and the police officer then discharges his weapon to protect his own life," said Former Pueblo County Sheriff Dan Corsentino.

That's what Pueblo Police say happened on that Saturday night. During a standoff, police tried to negotiate with a shooting suspect, but a short time later, the suspect walked to the front door and pointed a gun at police. Officers shot and killed him.

"Most officers absolutely dread going through [that]," said Corsentino.

Corsentino is also a former Fountain Police Chief. He's now a private investigator. Corsentino has seen it all in more than two decades in law enforcement.

"It impacts them psychologically, impacts them from an emotional perspective," he said about the officers involved in a shooting.

When an officer is involved in a shooting, investigators take the weapon as evidence. The officer tells his/her story. Then, detectives or sheriff's deputies, depending on the jurisdiction, review the shooting to determine if the officer followed the law.

"In that shooting [Pueblo] it was justifiable because of the fact that the suspect raised his weapon and began to shoot or was attempting to shot at the police officers and they discharged their weapons," said Corsentino, according to what he knew at the time.

Corsentino said the District Attorney's Office in Pueblo would only get involved if there is any reason to believe the officer did something wrong.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said the District Attorney's Office in El Paso County does investigate an officer involved shooting in order to figure out if the shooting was justified/lawful.

The Canon City Police Department will usually ask an outside agency to investigate an officer involved shooting. That agency will report their findings to the police chief and the DA's Office.

If at any point, there is reason to believe the shooting was not justifiable, it changes from an administrative process to a criminal process.

"The officer will at that point and time be informed of their Miranda rights and the District Attorney's Office would be notified prior to that," said Corsentino.

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