District Attorney's Office justifies Jan. 23 officer-involved shooting in Colorado Springs

Published: Jan. 23, 2019 at 7:36 PM MST
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Officers opened fire in an apartment complex Jan. 23 after an encounter with an armed suspect.

On Friday, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office ruled the shooting was justified. The suspect survived and had minor injuries. The DA's office is reporting it isn't clear if the minor injuries were from the shooting on Jan. 23, or a previous incident.

"The facts and evidence from this particular investigation demonstrate that Officers Nevarez and Waldera acted reasonably and were justified in defending themselves or others from the imminent use of deadly force. Because the officers’ actions were justified under Colorado law, there are no grounds for criminal charges,"

The District Attorney's Office wrote in a release.

The full release can be read at the bottom of this article.

Officer-involved shooting in Colorado Springs justified

WARNING: Some may consider the video below graphic. Colorado Springs Police Department just released this video of an officer-involved shooting. The suspect survived and the District Attorney's Office justified the shots fired by law enforcement today. This is one of the videos released today. Watch 11 News at 4 p.m. for more in-depth coverage. https://www.kktv.com/content/news/BREAKING-Shooting-at-Colorado-Springs-apartment-complex-504782721.html

Posted by KKTV 11 News on Friday, 31 May 2019

Police were originally called to the Mountain Ridge Apartments on Verde Drive on reports of someone repeatedly firing a gun.

"These multiple shots were being called in by multiple people over a period of time," Lt. Howard Black said soon after the shooting.

Witnesses reported hearing at least half a dozen gunshots.

"We were smoking a cigarette, and we heard like seven gunshots, and we didn’t think nothing of it ... all of a sudden a bunch of cops showed up, and it was terrible," Gere Burrell told 11 News.

The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Thomas McGeorge.

Fort Carson confirmed that McGeorge is an active duty staff sergeant. He worked as a Fire Support Specialist in the Army's field artillery team. He has served in the military for just under 11 years.

McGeorge was booked into the El Paso County jail and faced a long list of charges, including felony menacing, third-degree assault, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment. His bond was originally set for $100,000.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office took over the investigation.

The following is a release from the District Attorney's Office sent out on Friday:

The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting that occurred on January 23, 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute 16-2.5-301 Peace Officer-involved shooting investigations – protocol, all officer-involved shootings that result in injury or death shall be reviewed by a multi-agency team, a Deadly Force Investigation Team. As a case against the defendant remains open and pending, this will be an abbreviated review.

On January 23, 2019, at 7:12pm, an anonymous 911 caller reported hearing shots fired at an apartment complex located in the 2500 block of Verde Drive, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The caller stated that they had heard several men arguing and that the gunshots were fired from the third floor of the apartment building. Officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department, including Officers Mathew Waldera and Max Nevarez, responded to the scene. When Officer Nevarez arrived on the north side of the building citizens who were outside reported that the gunshots were coming from the third floor. As Officer Nevarez moved closer to the apartment building he could see that glass had been shot out of the windows in the stairwell. Officers Waldera and Nevarez entered the building together and as they climbed the stairs to the third floor they could see a man at the end of the hall, leaning against a wall. The suspect, who was not wearing a shirt, had an object in his hand, which both officers realized was a gun. Officer Waldera began giving the suspect commands to show his hands. The suspect raised his hand and Officer Nevarez could see the clear outline of the gun and then just the barrel. Officer Nevarez says he thought the gun was pointed at him so he dove into the stairway as Officer Waldera fired his pistol at the suspect. After looking down the hallway and seeing the suspect still holding the gun, Officer Nevarez fired twice at the suspect. The suspect fell on top of the gun. Citizens in a nearby apartment looked out into the hallway. One picked up the gun and tossed it away from the suspect, while another kicked it farther down the hallway. Officers with shields arrived and took the suspect into custody. The suspect, Thomas Christopher McGeorge, 32, had one superficial scratch or scrape on his hip and was treated and released from the hospital. Investigators were not able to confirm whether the minor injury was the result of a gunshot, or a previous altercation prior to contact with the officers. Thomas McGeorge has a current criminal case pending. His next court appearance is a review hearing, which is set for June 13, 2019 at 9am. Please keep in mind that these charges are merely allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1-707 provides that an officer is justified in using deadly force if he 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. The facts and evidence from this particular investigation demonstrate that Officers Nevarez and Waldera acted reasonably and were justified in defending themselves or others from the imminent use of deadly force. Because the officers’ actions were justified under Colorado law, there are no grounds for criminal charges.