Dreion Dearing case underway: A deliberate murder or self-defense?

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Dreion Dearing

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ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – The trial is now underway for the man accused of shooting and killing Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm back in 2018.

Dreion Dearing, 24, is charged with first-degree murder.

In opening statements, prosecutors said Deputy Gumm was searching for a suspect after an assault call on Jan. 24, 2018. Attorneys say Dreion Dearing, the suspect, jumped fences then hid on a deck, waiting for Deputy Gumm. They say he deliberately shot Gumm seven times.

But, defense attorneys paint a very different picture, saying the shooting was self-defense.

Defense attorneys claim Deputy Gumm fired first. They say Gumm shot at Dearing as he ran, that Dearing dropped to the ground fearing he was about to be killed, then began firing wildly in self-defense.

KDVR/KWGN legal analyst Chris Decker says it’s not uncommon for shooting suspects to use this argument as a defense, even if they shot a law enforcement officer.

“The sequence of the shots may make a big difference, because if the suspect shoots at the officer first, that’s hardly self-defense. If, as the defense may claim, the officer shot first, the question then would be was that a lawful use of force by the police officer in shooting at him, if so what does that mean,” Decker said.

Monday afternoon, Adams County Deputy William Booker took the stand. He testified that the first shot came from the deck area.

Dearing’s murder trial was originally scheduled for April, but it was declared a mistrial due to safety issues surrounding the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

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