GOLDEN, Colo. --It was a split-second decision Sunday morning as an off-duty police officer fired his weapon after witnessing a case of road rage, the Golden Police Department said.
“A police officer’s responsibility, their job doesn’t go away just when they go off duty. There is an expectation that officers will intercede when necessary,” Golden Police Capt. Joseph Harvey said.
Just before noon, the off-duty officer called Jefferson County dispatchers saying he was witnessing a road rage in progress.
“He asked our dispatcher, 'Would you like me to try to effect a stop?' The dispatchers next question was, 'Are you in a marked unit?” Harvey said.
The officer was in plainclothes, in his own car and outside his jurisdiction.
“Then the phone gets dropped. That’s when he's pulling up, he sees the guys already off the bike, he didn’t have, at least as best as we can tell, he didn’t have an opportunity yet to answer that question. He felt whatever he was seeing there, he felt compelled to intervene,” Harvey said.
The motorcyclist told investigators he didn’t believe the man was an off-duty cop. Golden police say the officer clearly identified himself.
“He did show his badge. He identified himself as a police officer and was making it very clear that the person was not free to leave. A struggle ensued in what appears to be an attempt of that person to leave the scene,” Harvey said.
That’s when the shot was fired. The bullet hit the motorcycle and debris hit the suspect in the hand.
“It happens very quickly. I’ve listed to the 911 tape. It happens very quickly, and then it's within moments after that that she says shots were fired,” Harvey said.
The motorcyclist suffered minor injuries.
Golden police said the off-duty officer was not one of theirs. They aren’t saying which jurisdiction the officer works for.