Family: Walsenburg Man Shot By Officer Has Died

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A Walsenburg police officer shoots a man while responding to home on a report of a domestic dispute. The officer-involved shooting happened Sunday night, and the man, 29-year-old Armando Gallegos died.

According to a Walsenburg Police Department Press Release, around 9:30 p.m. two officers arrived at 45 Stacy drive. One officer went to the front of the home, the other to the back. The officer-involved in shooting says he saw Armando Gallegos, 29, about to kill his girlfriend. He then opened fire to, “protect the woman from a deadly attack.”

Next door neighbor Robyn Presley was home at the time. She tells 11 News that the couple frequently would argue, but it would never reach a level where police were called. Presley says, Sunday’s argument started out like all the rest, then 15 to 20 minutes later a stereo was turned on she couldn’t hear what was being said anymore.

Another 15 to 20 minutes later Presley says she heard gunfire. At that point she went to investigate. "The police officers came up to me, and told me they shot him, and asked how many shots [I] heard, and I said at least six shots," explained Presley.

Armando Gallegos was hit by two of those bullets, according to what doctors have told his family. He was rushed to Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center where he actually died and then was resuscitated. He was then flown to Parkview Medical Center, and after several more resuscitations, Gallegos passed away from his wounds.

Meanwhile, back in Walsenburg, the officer involved in the shooting was placed on administrative leave, as is procedure. The Colorado Bureau of Investigations began looking into the matter, as is the case with all officer-involved shootings.

Monday, Gallegos’ family was angry and hurt over the loss of their son. They say he may have had his faults, but he didn’t deserve to be shot and killed.

Gallegos was no stranger to Walsenburg police. As a young man he was arrested and convicted on weapons and drug charges. He spent time behind bars, and was able to earn his high school diploma while in prison.

When he was released three years ago, his family says Gallegos was committed to turning over a new leaf, and getting his life back on track. His parents say he had succeeded. Gainfully employed at Walsenburg Lumber as a delivery driver, they say he was happy with his job and back on the straight and narrow.

One concern they had though, was with his relationship. They say, he would allow his girlfriend to hit him. "She was always beating up on him,” says David Aragon, Gallegos’ step-father, “He would always come over with bruises and scratches and everything else.”

Aragon doesn’t believe the version of the story the police have given. “I raised the boys not to hit women," says Aragon. Gallegos’ mother doesn’t believe it either, because of another reason; as a young boy, Gallegos saw domestic violence first hand.

His mother, Sandra Lea Gallegos, was beaten so badly by her ex-husband she can no longer speak. Now sign language, a pad of paper and a pen are her only ways of communicating.

Emotional with grief, Sandra Gallegos wrote, "They could have tased him. They didn't have to shoot him."

Doctors told the family two of the six shots hit Gallegos. One of them passed through his body, and they couldn’t find the other bullet. "The doctor said the holes were nickel sized holes."

After hearing there was a shooting at his home, Gallegos’ family rushed over there. When they arrived they say they were given little information and treated poorly by the officers on the scene. "[The officer] said, he's been shot twice, if you want to see him go to the hospital. And those were his exact words."

They never did get to see him alive again.

11 News is following this investigation closely. We’ll bring you more details as they become available.