Greeley man given 144 years in prison for beating girlfriend, shooting at police

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GREELEY, Colo. — A Greeley man convicted of beating his girlfriend and then luring paramedics and police officers to her location, and firing a gun at them, has been sentenced to 144 years in prison.

According to court documents, Matthew Gene Rockwell got into a fight with this then girlfriend in March 2012. He flew into a range as they were breaking up, said Pamela Dickman of the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.

Rockwell beat her to what Judge Thomas Quammen described as “within an inch of her life.”

He then called 911 and reported she had been in a bar fight and needed help.

Officers and paramedics responded and an officer began questioning Rockwell. Rockwell then ran into the bathroom, along with the injured woman, and locked the door, Dickman said.

He refused to open the door and made threats toward the officers, Dickman said.

Officer Peter Bratton told Rockwell he was going to kick open the door at the count of five. After counting down and ordering Rockwell to open the door a final time, Bratton kicked it open, Dickman said.

“Rockwell opened fire, hitting Bratton in the shoulder area and the duty belt, and continued firing through the open door into the other room where Officer Croissant and two medics were located,” Dickman said.

Rockwell continued firing until there was only one bullet left in his gun, Dickman said. Then, Rockwell told a second officer to shoot him, flipped the officer off, and then shot himself in the head, police said.

Medics already at the scene managed to save Rockwell’s life.

“This defendant was in a rage, and nothing was going to stop him that night,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Robb Miller, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Joscelyn Gorsline. “He was going to take a lot of lives and then take his own.”

Bratton was taken to the hospital for treatment to his shoulder wound. The second bullet that hit his utility belt actually hit is stun gun, which stopped the bullet and likely saved his life.