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Colorado officer shot in the face in the line of duty released from hospital

 Sgt. Christopher Pelton was released from the hospital on 12/27/19.  Sgt. Pelton is pictured in the middle.  He was headed home less than a month after he was shot in the face while in the line of duty.  Photo courtesy Fort Lupton PD.
Sgt. Christopher Pelton was released from the hospital on 12/27/19. Sgt. Pelton is pictured in the middle. He was headed home less than a month after he was shot in the face while in the line of duty. Photo courtesy Fort Lupton PD. (KKTV)
Published: Dec. 3, 2019 at 5:24 AM MST
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A Colorado police officer has made enormous strides in his recovery since being shot in the line of duty earlier this month.

Sgt. Christopher Pelton was released from the rehab center on Friday and will continue his therapy as an out-patient.

Sgt. Christopher Pelton with the Fort Lupton Police Department was among several officers responding to reports of an armed teen trying to get into his ex-girlfriend's home. The teen opened fire on officers, hitting Sgt. Pelton at least once. Investigators say police returned fire and shot the suspect. Sgt. Pelton and the suspect were both airlifted from the scene in critical condition.

The 19th Judicial Critical Incident Response Team provided an update on Pelton two days later, stating he remained in critical condition after being shot in the face.

Before his discharge from the ICU, family and friends said Pelton made amazing progress, including walking and talking.

The GoFundMe was recently closed, but anyone still wishing to donate can reach out to the Fort Lupton Police Department.

for their contact information.

The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Matthew Cotter, also remains in the hospital.

According to arrest papers obtained by 11 News sister station CBS Denver, the incident began when Cotter allegedly showed up at his ex-girlfriend's home on Ponderosa Place. The girl's mother called police at 8:45 p.m. and said Cotter was threatening to harm her daughter, then kill himself.

When police got to the address at Ponderosa Place, they were unable to locate Cotter. About two hours later, police received another call from the girl's father, who said Cotter parked outside the house, turned his vehicle's lights off, and sent a text to his ex that read, 'It's too late.'"

That phone call was quickly followed by a call from the ex-girlfriend, who told police Cotter was armed and at her front door.

Police went to the address at Ponderosa Place a second time. They again couldn't find Cotter, but according to the arrest affidavit, Cotter was watching them from his hiding place.

Moments later, shots were fired.

The arrest papers state the defendant waived his rights and spoke with a detective about the shooting. Cotter admitted to police he was trying to see his ex and he did have suicidal thoughts. Investigators say they learned from Cotter's ex that Cotter had been making suicidal statements for months. He allegedly claimed that on the night of the shooting, he loaded a round into his gun after he heard police coming and then hid behind a fence along Ponderosa Place. Cotter also claimed he "lost consciousnesses at various times," according to arrest papers. Cotter allegedly admitted shooting at least three rounds from his handgun at an officer. He said, "I shot, he dropped; they shot, I dropped." Cotter said he "caught the officer off guard."

Cotter is facing charges including attempted first-degree murder.

The creator of the GoFundMe provided the following statement:

"Chris is the father to three amazing children and the husband of Kelly Pelton. At this time we are asking for donations to help with his long road of recovery. He has already had surgeries & many more to come. Please help in any way you can to help cover the cost of hotels, food, transportation, & anything else the family may need. #PeltonStrong"

Fort Lupton is a community northeast of the Denver metro.

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