ADAMS COUNTY, Colo — An Adams County sheriff's deputy who fatally shot a man who was wearing a bulletproof vest and was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend will not face charges, the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday.
Deputy Scott Kiersted shot Bruce Thurby inside a garage bay of a body shop on Aug. 11, 2021, near 70th Avenue and Pecos Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The day before on Aug. 10, 2021, Thurby's ex-girlfriend contacted police in Lafayette and reported that Thurby had kidnapped her and held her hostage, the DA said.
She reported that on Aug. 7, 2021, Thurby forced himself into her Aurora apartment and forced her into his vehicle. From there, she said that Thurby drove her around the Denver metro area and repeatedly assaulted and threatened her.
She managed to escape at a gas station in Boulder County.
The woman reported that Thurby was armed with a gun and was wearing a bulletproof vest and had threatened to "shoot it out" with police if contacted.
Since the incident began in Aurora, and it was believed that Thurby was likely located there, the case was transferred to a fugitive task force in that area to conduct surveillance.
That eventually led to the area of 70th and Pecos in unincorporated Adams County. Around 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 11. At about 5 p.m., Thurby exited his car and entered a used car lot where he attempted to steal several cars, the DA said.
At that time, Kiersted and others moved to arrest Thurby. As they did they gave multiple commands including yelling, "police stop," the decision letter says.
When Thurby saw the deputies, the letter says, he ran into the street while holding a gun. He then ran into the open bay garage of a repair shop and deputies followed with their own weapons drawn.
According to the letter, Kiersted made eye contact with Thurby and saw his gun. Kiersted yelled out, "gun gun gun," in order to alert bystanders and other deputies of the danger.
At one point, the letter says, that Kiersted yelled "police stop," and at that time Thurby turned back toward him while holding his gun. According to the letter, Kiersted feared he or others would be shot and aimed his firearm "center mass" at Thurby and fired three times.
Thurby fell to the ground on his stomach with his hands out in front of him, the letter says. The barrel of a handgun was sticking out from beneath his upper body.
Kiersted moved toward Thurby and instructed him "don't move," the letter says, and when he did, Thurby "immediately reached for the firearm." At that time, Kiersted fired two more shots toward Thurby's head. He stopped moving and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the letter.
Two other deputies reported that before Thurby entered the garage, they saw him pointing the gun at other people, but they did not have a clear of him once he entered the garage, the letter says.
Given that Thurby was armed with a gun and had previously threatened to "shoot it out" with police, the DA concluded that Kiersted acted reasonably. Thurby's refusal to obey commands to drop his weapon also supported Kiersted's belief that he was in "imminent" danger, the letter says.
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