FORT COLLINS, Colo. — “Drop the knife! drop that knife! do it now!” yelled three Fort Collins police officers in August after encountering a knife-wielding man outside his soon-to-be ex-wife’s home.
On Friday, police gave a first look at body camera video showing the tense moments before 63-year-old Jerry Lee Jackson was shot and killed.
Fort Collins police officers were cleared in the shooting. Officers said Jackson threatened them repeatedly.
The suspect had a long history with police dating back to 1992. His record indicated mostly low level, nonviolent crimes, but officers became very familiar with him.
The confrontation with Jackson took place after he allegedly threatened to kill his soon-to-be ex-wife. Investigators said he pulled a knife after breaking in to her home.
“He’s got a knife in his hand and he’s coming at us,” his wife’s 911 call to police said.
The video of the encounter recorded by police officers’ body cameras show officers repeatedly ordering Jackson to drop the knife. They eventually deployed a stun device on him
But Jackson continued to move toward three armed police officer with the knife and they kept warning him to stop.
“Don’t do that. Put it down. I’m going to shoot you man,” one officer is heard saying. And then there was gunfire.
After reviewing all of the evidence, including death threats and violations of restraining orders by Jackson, an independent panel unanimously cleared all officers involved in the shooting. The panel ruled the officers acted properly.
“I see this actually as exemplary training,” Fort Collins police chief John Hutto said. “These officers did everything that they should have done in trying to avoid this outcome.”
Police later found out Jackson made statements that he intended to kill his estranged wife and himself, or die in a confrontation with police.
All of these factors led the department to release the video from the officers’ body cameras.
“It’s the right tool at the right time. I believe as more and more of these events occur. … I genuinely believe it will be a normal part of policing,” Hutto said.
The chief said all of the officers involved regret that it happened. He added their training paid off because there was no further harm to the public or any officers.