Police Shooting Investigation

By: kktv
By: kktv

The El Paso County District Attorney has completed an investigation, into an officer-involved shooting last month. A suspect and a police dog were both shot, but survived.

Read the release from the District Attorney's office here:

The Office of the District Attorney has completed the investigation of the events of November 7, 2006 where Defendant William Gregg was shot during the execution of an arrest warrant.

Any time an officer fires his weapon and a person is injured, the Office of the District Attorney conducts an independent investigation. The sole purpose of that investigation is to determine if any criminal laws were violated by the law enforcement officer shooting his/her weapon.

C.R.S. §18-1-707 allows for a peace officer to use deadly force if he reasonably believes that it is necessary to effect an arrest of a person whom he reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon. C.R.S. §18-1-704 further allows anyone to use deadly physical force if he reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate and reasonably believes he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or receiving great bodily injury.

After review of the investigation, District Attorney John Newsome concludes that the two Colorado Springs Police Officers who fired their weapons on November 8, 2006 used a reasonable amount of force to arrest an armed and dangerous bank robber. DA Newsome also finds that both officers reasonably believed they were in grave danger because of the actions of the Defendant and they used a reasonable amount of force in defending themselves and other members of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

The independent investigation consists of interviewing witnesses, to include those officers who shot their weapons. Physical evidence is carefully examined. Forensic evidence is reviewed. "We try to reach a complete investigation before making a determination," said DA Chief Investigator Larry Martin. "We look at the forensic evidence, the witness statements and the totality of the circumstances. Investigations into these matters take time."

"We were careful to compare the physical evidence to the witness statements. The physical evidence clearly corroborates the statements given by the police officers," continued Martin. "We were able to determine the following facts during our investigation:

On November 7, 2006, Colorado Springs Police Department detectives assigned to the Robbery Unit were trying to locate and apprehend William Gregg, who had been identified as the suspect in an aggravated robbery of a US Bank branch that had occurred on November 2, 2006. During that robbery, Mr. Gregg had threatened to shoot the bank teller if she did not comply with his commands.

Earlier in the day of November 2, 2006, Mr. Gregg had also failed to appear in court on three other bank robberies where he was facing charges. During the course of their investigation, detectives learned from Mr. Gregg’s wife that Mr. Gregg wanted to commit suicide by having police shoot him during his apprehension.

On November 7, 2006, detectives received a call at 6:15 p.m. from a relative of Mr. Gregg’s informing them that Mr. Gregg was at a particular house on El Sereno Drive. When detectives and a uniformed police officer arrived at 4 El Sereno Drive shortly after 7 p.m., they made contact with the home owner. The home owner informed police that Mr. Gregg was in the basement of his house. For the next thirty minutes, as police surrounded the house, Detective Eric Anderson made verbal contact with Mr. Gregg by identifying himself as a police detective and requesting that Mr. Gregg come upstairs with his hands up. Mr. Gregg did not respond in any way to this communication.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the Tactical Enforcement Unit (TEU) arrived and surrounded the house. Members of the TEU continued to request from the top of the stairs that Mr. Gregg surrender himself. After thirty more minutes of repeated requests to come upstairs and no response from Mr. Gregg, several members of the TEU walked downstairs to the basement. As the TEU began to search the basement, Mr. Gregg announced that he had a gun and that he would start shooting if the police did not leave. Immediately after the announcement, Mr. Gregg fired a handgun from behind the door of a small room he had hidden in. As it was dark in the basement, investigators did not learn until after Mr. Gregg was apprehended that Mr. Gregg had fired his gun into a concrete foundation wall.

Believing that Mr. Gregg had fired his gun at them, the TEU returned upstairs. The TEU immediately deployed tear gas down the stairs and through basement windows. Members of the TEU, now wearing gas masks, continued to issue commands for Mr. Gregg to come upstairs. Nearly thirty minutes after the gas had been deployed, a significant quantity of gas had emanated from the basement into the kitchen at the top of the stairs and out the back door into the backyard. It was dark and visibility was significantly reduced. In that open position, the back door partially blocked the exit from the basement.

At that time, the TEU could hear Mr. Gregg cough and begin to sprint upstairs. Upon reaching the main level of the house, Mr. Gregg darted from the top of the stairs, around the back door of the house, and out into the backyard. Several members of the TEU who were inside the house observed that Mr. Gregg was carrying a semi-automatic handgun as he ran out of the basement and into the backyard. As Mr. Gregg exited out the back, K-9 Bosko was released from inside the house by his handler, Sgt. Steve Buzzell.

In the backyard, TEU officers Rafael Chanza and Rob McPike had positioned themselves to contain Mr. Gregg if he exited out the back of the house. Officers McPike and Chanza both observed Mr. Gregg lift his gun and aim in the direction of the officers as he ran out of the house and down a set of three stairs. Officer McPike fired several shots. One of Officer McPike’s shots hit K-9 Bosko in the head as K-9 Bosko attempted to apprehend Mr. Gregg. As Mr. Gregg rolled on the ground, Officer McPike observed Mr. Gregg point the gun in his direction again. Officer McPike fired several more shots at Mr. Gregg. Medical examination later revealed that Mr. Gregg had been shot in the arm, in the lower left calf area, and in the hip/buttocks area.

Inside the house, as soon as Mr. Gregg had run out the back door, Officer Lazoff of the TEU, who had been inside the house, immediately followed Mr. Gregg. Officer Lazoff had also seen that Mr. Gregg was carrying a semi-automatic handgun in his right hand when Mr. Gregg ran from the basement and into the backyard. As Officer Lazoff approached the back door, he heard several shots being fired outside and heard K-9 Bosco cry out in extreme pain. Upon reaching the back door, Officer Lazoff felt K-9 Bosko run past him and felt a significant amount of blood on the dog. Having heard the shots and observing that K-9 Bosko had been shot, Officer Lazoff believed that Mr. Gregg had shot at officers outside and had shot K-9 Bosko.

When he reached the back door of the house, Officer Lazoff fired his rifle one time at Mr. Gregg, who was on the back patio at that point still in possession of his handgun.

Mr. Gregg was arrested immediately thereafter. Police at that time seized a 9mm handgun from Mr. Gregg. At the time it was seized, the handgun was in the cocked, ready-to-fire position. The events from the point of Mr. Gregg running up the basement stairs to the point of Mr. Gregg being placed in handcuffs lasted less than ten seconds.

Subsequent investigation by the Office of the District Attorney revealed that during the flurry of gunfire, Officer Rafael Chanza, who had been positioned in the back yard of the residence, had been hit in his bulletproof vest. This bullet shattered upon impact, causing superficial wounds to Officer Chanza’s arm.

Mr. Gregg was subsequently treated for his wounds at Memorial Hospital and released into the custody of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

On November 30, 2006, the District Attorney’s Office filed aggravated robbery charges against Mr. Gregg for the November 2, 2006 robbery of the US Bank and 1st Degree Assault on a Peace Officer charges for his actions at 4 El Sereno Drive on November 7, 2006.

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