No charges filed in fatal shooting of armed Fort Carson soldier
By OLIVIA PRENTZEL | The Gazette | Published: July 10, 2020
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Tribune News Service) — No charges will be filed against four Colorado Springs police officers in the fatal shooting of a decorated combat veteran who they say pointed a rifle at them during a domestic disturbance in April, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
According to the DA’s report, Cpl. Joseph Somosky and officers Eddie Nassar, Kristofer Czajkowski and Charles Warren "acted reasonably" and were justified when they fired at Army Staff Sgt. Virgill Thorpe because they “held a reasonable belief” that Thorpe put the officers and his family members in imminent danger of being killed or seriously injured.
Thorpe, 28, was struck “at least once,” the report said, and died from his wounds in the hospital.
All four officers’ body cameras were activated at the time of the shooting, according to the DA's Office, though CSPD has yet to release the footage. A police spokesman said the footage will likely be released Friday or early next week.
An autopsy from the El Paso County Coroner’s Office showed that Thorpe died from 12 gunshot wounds to his head, arm, back, leg and hands.
The DA’s report provided the following details of the April 19 incident:
The officers were called to Thorpe’s home just before 10 p.m. in the 3200 block of Oak Creek Drive East on the city’s southeast side after Thorpe’s wife called about a disturbance, the report stated.
Thorpe’s wife told authorities that she had been physically assaulted by her husband and that he was armed with an assault rifle, according to the report. She said Thorpe “cocked” the rifle and said he would shoot officers if they came to the house.
When the officers met Thorpe at the front door, he was “extremely agitated” and said “Let’s go to war,” the report stated. The officers tried to calm him down, but he went back inside.
Through an egress window, officers saw Thorpe’s wife, two stepdaughters and a family friend in the basement and attempted to pull them out, the report stated. They pulled Thorpe’s wife and one of his stepdaughters out of the window to safety, but while they tried to pull out his other stepdaughter, Thorpe approached the window with an AR-15, according to the report.
He raised the rifle and pointed it at the officers, the report stated. His stepdaughter jumped out of the way and the officers fired at Thorpe.
Thorpe retreated into the basement and collapsed, the report said. The officers provided medical aid to Thorpe until paramedics arrived.
One of the officers and one of Thorpe’s stepdaughters were injured by flying glass and debris or shrapnel, the report stated.
An investigation by the multiagency Deadly Force Investigation Team, showed that Thorpe fired a round from his AR-15, the DA’s report stated. One of Thorpe’s stepdaughters told investigators that Thorpe fired his rifle before officers fired.
Thorpe was assigned to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, a Fort Carson spokeswoman said. He enlisted in the Army in 2012 and had been stationed at Fort Carson since 2016. He received more than 20 awards throughout his service, including during his seven-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2013, records show.
Thorpe’s death was the city’s 16th homicide and second officer-involved shooting this year.