GJPD ID's suspect, officer in deadly shooting

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Police have identified the police officer and suspect involved in a deadly shootout Friday morning.

Brian Gaither, 24

The officer was identified as Jacob Steele is an eight-year veteran officer, and he will remain on administrative leave during the investigation, as is standard protocol in these cases, according to police.

The suspect, who died on scene, was identified as 24-year-old Brian Gaither, police said.

Steele responded to a suspicious vehicle in the area of South 9th Street and Pitkin Avenue shortly after midnight, police said.

Police said Steele thought the vehicle was involved in a previous weapons violation with a known suspect, authorities said.

Authorities said the Steele called for emergency backup, then called “shots fired” over the radio and requested an ambulance.

Backup officers found the Steele pinned between a vehicle and a building on Pitkin Avenue, according to authorities. Police broke a window to move the vehicle and free the officer.

Gaither died from a gunshot wound in the car, police said.

Police said Gaither had two active warrants for his arrest, one for a parole violation and the other for fleeing from a traffic stop on November 7. In the November 7 incident officers saw a handgun in plain sight while Gaither was driving.

There were no other suspects involved in the officer-involved shooting on Friday.

The manager of a nearby convenience store witnessed the lead-up to the shooting.

"Unfortunately someone was shot due to poor choice that they made, at least the officer is OK," said Kimberly Shade-Enriquez, the Manager of the C&F store.

"I guess its just a sign of the times you know, police have to do whatever they need to do, in order to protect the community," said Robert Griffin, who lives nearby.

The officer was transported to the hospital for treatment, and has since been released.

Police said they found a handgun inside Gaither's vehicle.

Authorities said a team made of local and state law enforcement agencies, will handle the investigation into the incident.

The Grand Junction Police Department will conduct an internal investigation.

Jacob Steele

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