Springs police officer cleared in shooting of suspected burglar

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) A police shootout with burglary suspect Thomas Guolee has been ruled justified.

The 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Monday that Colorado Springs police officer Nicholas Hartbauer was within rights of the law when he fired his weapon at Guolee during a shootout Dec. 30. Hartbauer's bullet struck Guolee in the thigh.

Hartbauer was defending himself when he fired his weapon, the office said.

Guolee was suspected of trying to break into a former prison guard's home on Sierra Springs Drive, even asking neighbors to help because he had lost his key. The man's wife, who was home with their two toddlers, called police.

Guolee never went inside the house.

When authorities arrived, Guolee fired at officers before getting into a car and driving away, weaving between two police cruisers in the process. He eventually ditched the vehicle and tried to run away, where he was shot in the leg.

Officers are justified in using reasonable physical force to arrest or prevent the escape of a person, especially one believed to have committed or attempted to commit a felony, and to defend themselves from what is reasonably believed to be an imminent threat to life, the district attorney's office said.

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