ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has found an Arapahoe County deputy justified in shooting a car theft suspect who is accused of ramming into another deputy with a stolen pickup truck.
The suspect, Diego Gallegos, survived and now faces a litany of charges for the Jan. 22 incident, including second-degree assault of a peace officer and threatening an officer with a deadly weapon.
According to the decision letter, Deputy Trevor Cuaz first encountered Gallegos when he and Deputy Alan Wilson arrived at the Cornerstar Ranch Apartments near South Parker Road and South Chambers Street, where they were told the suspect would be arriving in a stolen Chevrolet Silverado.
The deputies later boxed Gallegos and his passenger in with their unmarked Ford F-150, and yelled for him to put up his hands and surrender while their lights and sirens were flashing, according to the decision letter.
Gallegos proceeded to drive forward and into the F-150 to escape, pinning Wilson into his vehicle where he sustained “serious bodily injury,” according to the letter. Gallegos then reversed and crashed into an electrical box in a grassy area, the DA's letter says.
“Mr. Gallegos then drove forward towards the parking space where he previously struck Deputy Wilson,” the letter reads. “Deputy Cuaz fired his weapon eight times to protect Deputy Wilson and himself. Mr. Gallegos was struck three times, rounds grazed his head and chest, and one penetrated his left arm.”
Gallegos was taken into custody and given medical attention after crashing into several parked cars, the decision letter says.
During an interview with police, Gallegos said he had drugs in his truck, but no firearms, and that a woman in his car had told him to flee because she had a warrant for her arrest, according to the letter.
“Mr. Gallegos stated he did not know that he hit a peace officer and felt bad about it,” the decision letter reads. “Mr. Gallegos expressed remorse for the trouble he caused. During the interview, Mr. Gallegos pointed to where he was shot in the arm and said that he may have earned that.”
In the decision letter, Deputy District Attorney Jason Siers wrote he cleared Cuaz for opening fire because he reasonably believed that he and Wilson were in danger when Gallegos began driving toward them once again.
“I find that Deputy Cuaz reasonably believed that Mr. Gallegos posed an imminent threat of deadly physical force to Deputy Wilson and himself when he drove towards the deputies,” the letter reads. “As such, I find that Deputy Cuaz was justified in using deadly physical force against Diego Gallegos to defend Deputy Wilson and himself from the imminent use of deadly physical force. No criminal charges will be filed against Deputy Cuaz.”
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