LINCOLN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – A Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy who was shot multiple times while responding to a theft call justifiably shot at the suspect, according to a district attorney review released Friday.
At 3:14 a.m. on May 20, a truck driver parked at a pull-out at Interstate 70 and US-287 called 911 to report a suspect was breaking into truck trailers, the report said.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Hutton responded around 3:24 a.m. to the call. He and the truck driver approached an open trailer, where they saw the suspect, later identified as 26-year-old Tristan Ensinger.
When Hutton shined a flashlight into the trailer, Ensinger shot the deputy in the hand, arm and torso. Hutton fell to the ground but was then able to stand and run for cover as the suspect continued to shoot at him.
Ensinger also fired shots at the truck driver, who was slightly injured.
Hutton fired back at the suspect three times before he was able to get across the road where he collapsed.
Hutton called for help on his radio, according to the report, but with heavy fog in the area, other deputies could not find him. He fired his weapon one additional time into the ground so that the officers could locate him.
Hutton was transported first by ambulance and then helicopter to Swedish Medical Center. He is expected to recover from injuries sustained that day.
The suspect was later found less than a mile from the incident dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
After reviewing the evidence, Chief Deputy District Attorney Clinton McKinzie said Hutton was justified in attempting to use lethal force against Ensinger.
Hutton has been with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department since 2014. Before that, he spent a decade as a military police officer.
“Deputy Hutton’s attempted use of force was reasonable, necessary, and appropriate in order for Deputy Hutton todefend himself and the civilian truck driver from the threat posed by Mr. Ensinger,” McKinzie said in the review.