DA: Douglas County sheriff’s deputy justified in killing man who shot at law enforcement

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A Douglas County sheriff deputy is seen during an officer-involved shooting incident on April 3, 2021 (Photo: Office of the District Attorney, 18 Judicial District)

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – A Douglas County sheriff’s deputy legally and justifiably shot a man who allegedly shot at law enforcement during an April 3 incident, according to a district attorney review.

At around 6:20 p.m., Douglas County Deputy Brent Butler responded to a 911 call about a man acting irrationally who had a rifle. When Butler arrived at the side of the off-ramp to Interstate 25 at the Happy Canyon northbound exit, he encountered 23-year-old Samuel Yeager, who had the rifle in a case.

Butler repeatedly commanded Yeager to put the weapon down, but Yeager did not comply. Instead, Yeager fidgeted with the weapon, raising it at least twice towards Dep. Butler in what certainly could have resulted in Yeager firing on Butler, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Gary Dawson.

Yeager then moved to the northbound on-ramp, continuing to ignore commands to put the weapon down. Deputy Christopher Lippolis arrived while Yeager was on the on-ramp. Yeager kneeled down and then laid down on ground, removed the rifle from the case and then pointed it at Butler, then toward Lippolis.

Evidence at the scene indicates that Yeager fired three times at the deputies. Lippolis fired three times. All three shots struck Yeager: once in the left hip and twice in the head.

No deputy was shot or injured, though there was evidence in the form of a bullet hole in an interstate sign just in front of Lippolis that indicates Yeager was shooting at Lippolis’ direction.

Before the incident, a classmate of Yeager’s from college made the 911 call, saying they had smoked marijuana on a hike and when Yeager began “acting crazy” and had pointed an AK-47 rifle at him, he dropped Yeager off on the side of the road.

Per department policy, the deputies involved were put on administrative leave while the investigation continued.

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