Three Douglas County sheriff deputies were cleared of criminal wrongdoing for shooting and killing a man in August after he pulled a gun on them during a traffic stop.
Paul Edward Askins, 61, of Colorado Springs was wanted on El Paso County warrants for suspicion of second-degree burglary and failure to appear in court when the deputies killed him on Aug. 31. After the fatal shooting, investigators found a handwritten note in Askins’ wallet that said, “When you kill me
call these numbers”, followed by phone numbers for several of his associates.
Brian Sugioka, chief deputy district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, ruled that the deputies “acted in accordance with the laws governing use of force in self-defense and defense of others, and use of force by law enforcement.” Because of this, “no criminal charges … are warranted,” he wrote in a letter to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock.
On August 31, deputies Gage Walpole and Larry Arguello were driving south on Highway 85 when a truck suddenly pulled in front of them from a private driveway, causing the deputies to slam their breaks, the report stated. The truck then swerved into the right lane, almost colliding with another car driven by an off-duty officer.
Officers pulled the truck over due to the traffic violations, according to sheriff’s reports. Walpole grew suspicious when Askins, the driver, gave him false identifying information. The officer then approached the car to arrest Askins.
According to the sheriff’s report and body camera footage, Askins opened the car door, brandishing a silver pistol.
Body camera footage showed Askins aiming a gun at Walpole. When Walpole saw the gun he slipped and fell backward on a slope leading to a drainage ditch. As he fell, Walpole yelled, “Don’t move. Don’t move,” as Askins got out of the truck and aimed his gun at the deputy, the letter said.
Walpole returned fire while seated and leaning back in the grass.
Believing Walpole had been shot, Arguello began shooting at Askins, the report stated. Deputy Joe Pollack heard gunshots and began firing at Askins through the truck door.
Askins went down after the three officers fired at him. They quickly determined he was dead, police said.
All three officers were uninjured, police said. It was later determined that Askins had not fired his gun during the incident, the report stated.
The three other passengers in Askins’ vehicle were uninjured, the report said.
Police said subsequent interviews with Askins’ friends and family indicated that he had recently told them that he was “tired of being here”, the report said, and he had made comments about suicide.
Askins had a lengthy criminal history, the report said, including convictions in Texas for burglary, negligent homicide and assault with a deadly weapon.
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