DA clears Fruita PD officers in fatal shooting case

By: KKCO - Email
By: KKCO - Email

FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO) - After reviewing the report from the Critical Incident Response Team investigating the death of Lewis Pollard at the hands of Fruita Police Officers, the District Attorney has cleared them of any wrongdoing.

In a six page letter to Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger writes, "I conclude that all officers involved acted in an entirely reasonable and professional manner." The DA also expresses his regret that Pollard died, but his 'review of the investigation reveals no actions by any of the officers which are in any way questionable.'

Hautzinger's letter walks through the reports by the five Fruita Police Officers present that night about what happened and also cites the Mesa County Coroner's report.

Pollard was initially contacted during a traffic stop for failing to signal and running a stop sign. He then fled the stop after indicating he was a 'sovereign citizen'. The officers, according to department policy, did not chase him, but did see where he went and eventually found his vehicle at 159 Hollyberry in Fruita. They said they heard yelling from inside the home and went to investigate.

They asked the residents inside to come out, Pollard eventually did, with one hand behind his back. As he was talking to the officers, one leaned over a fence to see what was behind a back and saw it was a gun. Pollard was ordered to drop it, but officers say he swung it out toward them, and three opened fire.

The Corner says Pollard was hit five times, a total of 13 shots were fired. Pollard died at the scene. His blood alcohol level was 'recently as high as 0.126 percent. Investigators found Pollard had been at The End Zone in Fruita that night before being pulled over.

The officers involved in the incident also underwent drug and alcohol blood testing and their results came back negative for any substances.

Hautzinger's letter says the pistol Pollard was holding was later found to be registered to his daughter, Jolene Gifford. She told investigators she'd sold it to him. Authorities found the manual safety on the gun had been damaged, which kept the slide from being pulled back so the chamber couldn't be emptied. It was later repaired and test fired for the investigation. That weapon was a Hi-Point .40 caliber pistol.

But not everyone affected by the shooting is satisfied with the District Attorney's findings. Gifford says that this has been a very difficult month for the family and is disappointed with how police handled the investigation.

"Just unbelievable," says Gifford. "I didn't even get it forom the police. Why couldn't they have the courtesy to come drop it off with me or call me and say they have it?"


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