Fatal political shooting in Colorado Springs justified, investigations find

The shooting of a man in April by a Colorado Springs police officer was a legitimate use of lethal force, according to the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office.

On April 22, Officer Christopher Burns, armed with an AR-15 rifle, shot Richard Lee Quintana at a gas station on Phillips 66, according to a DA decision letter on the shooting, which was released Friday.

Quintana ranged from what officers at the time believed was an AR-15-type rifle. It was later determined to be an air pistol copy of a rifle.

“Richard Lee Quintana died as a result of a gunshot wound caused by a bullet fired by the CPSD
Officer Christopher Burns, “the statement said. “This was a homicide, but the use of deadly physical force by Officer Burns was justified.”

Before the shooting, another officer, Jack Olson, had found Quintana sleeping behind the wheel of a parked and driving vehicle in the 500-block West Garden of the Gods Road. Olson parked his patrol car behind the vehicle Quintana was in. Olson knocked on the driver’s side window, and Quintana started the vehicle in an attempt to jump a curb into an adjacent parking lot and escape, the decision letter said. The car was high centered and Quintana stepped out and held the gun.

“When he did this, Quintana told Officer Olson that he had a bomb and wanted to set it off,” the decision letter said.

Quintana then circulated to a nearby motel on foot, with Olson following and several officers arriving at the scene. They quickly ended up at the gas station, where several officers shouted commands to Quintana to stop and drop the weapon. He did not, according to the release. Quintana, who repeatedly said he had a bomb, worked his way toward a person pumping gas into a vehicle, and that person ran off. At this point, Olson was using a Taser on Quintana, but it was ineffective.

“Officers reported that Quintana was trying to open the driver’s door of the civilian vehicle,” according to the statement. “Because of Quintana’s actions and statements, Officer Burns fired two shots from his AR-15 rifle. Mr. Quintana was hit once and went to the ground at what point
officers were able to secure him. ”

Quintana was taken to a local hospital where he died.

“Officers made every effort to de-escalate the situation without using physical
force, and all these attempts failed, ”the statement said. “Officer Burns heard some of these commands and observed that Quintana was moving to the civilian vehicle at the gas station with a rifle and threatening to have a bomb. Officer Burns perceived this as an escalation of potential mortality. ”

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