DENVER (KDVR) — Dramatic body cam video has been released in a horrific case of domestic violence where police shot and killed the suspect.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann has determined a Denver police officer was justified when he fired a single shot, killing a domestic violence suspect on July 15.
No criminal charges will be filed for the deadly shooting of 33-year-old Chaz Theodore Gallegos.
Police respond to domestic violence act in progress
Denver Police Department officers responded to a domestic violence call in progress in the 300 block of 51st Avenue in the Globeville neighborhood. Officers kicked in the door and saw Gallegos holding a knife to the throat of his longtime girlfriend Candice Roderick.
Gallegos had already stabbed the woman in the neck, and she was bleeding badly as he held her from behind and used her as a human shield.
Police said Gallegos ignored all commands to let her go and repeatedly said, “I’m going to kill her.”
Police later found suspected fentanyl pills in Gallegos’ pocket.
Victim speaks after the incident
In an email to the Problem Solvers, the victim shared her thoughts about what happened to her:
To be honest it’s crazy to me. I never thought in a million years this would have ever happened to me. I was with this man for over 17 years. We have two kids together. It’s crazy what drugs will do to a person, how it changes them completely. I got stabbed over 15x in my neck and hands. I’m still going through therapy for my right hand because my tendon was hit. I can not make a fist and it is very weak. My voice is barely coming back slowly and I still have a cough and am having trouble speaking at times. I watched the body cams and I believe the cops did everything they could. They talked with Chaz and tried to stop him. They gave him multiple chances and I believe they did save my life! This is a very hard situation to deal with losing the love of my life and dealing with the fact he tried and almost succeeded in killing me. My kids and I are still devastated and trying to work through the trauma this has caused.
District attorney explains decision
“In my judgment, these officers had legitimate reasons to fear that Mr. Chaz Gallegos would further injure or kill the woman at any moment,” McCann said. “The officers also saw signs that the woman was suffering from blood loss and might be at risk of bleeding to death if they delayed taking action any longer. Pursuant to Colorado law, I conclude that this shooting was legally justified in order to protect the female from further injury or death.”
As is her practice, McCann will hold a virtual community meeting to discuss this incident and her conclusions on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to join this online meeting that will take place over Microsoft Teams.
In an interview back in October, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas told the Problem Solvers, “What I’m most reminded of is just how hard those officers tried to, in that situation, peacefully use de-escalation techniques. Unfortunately, that did not work.”
When asked if he thought his officer saved the woman’s life, Thomas replied, “Absolutely. Not a doubt.”