Adams County District Attorney Dave Young will not file criminal charges against a Westminster police officer who fatally shot a 58-year-old man who police say sped his car in reverse directly at the officer.
Anthony Guzman fatally shot Michael Lee Gonzales on Aug. 2 following a car chase with the suspected shoplifter, Young wrote in a letter to Westminster police Chief Tim Carlson.
“There is no reasonable likelihood of success of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the involved officer committed any crime during this incident,” Young’s letter says.
At 2:10 p.m. on Aug. 2, Guzman answered a call about a shoplifting suspect at Kohl’s Department Store, 11875 Sheridan Blvd., who threatened a store security officer with a knife, jumped into a blue Chevrolet Aveo and sped away, the letter says.
Guzman arrived just as Gonzales was leaving the store’s parking lot and began chasing him through a neighborhood. When the patrol car was behind the Kohl’s, he intentionally crashed into the suspect’s car in a “pit maneuver” intended to stop him.
Guzman got out of the patrol car and yelled at Gonzales to “Stop the car. Get out of the car and put your hands up.”
Instead, Gonzales revved the Aveo’s engine and accelerated in reverse towards the officer. In fear for his life, Guzman shot Gonzales multiple times until the suspect slumped in the front seat and the car crashed into a ravine, the letter says.
The letter said that Gonzales had a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1979 including arrests for burglaries, assaults, thefts and escapes.
“There is no evidence to contradict the suggestion that officer Guzman used a reasonable amount of force at the time he fired his weapon,” Young’s letter said.
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