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DA: Deputy justified in shooting suspect 10 times

The Adams County District Attorney's Office has found that the deputy involved was justified in fatally shooting the suspect because he feared for his life.
Credit: KUSA file photo
The scene of a deadly deputy-involved shooting in Adams County.

KUSA — The Adams County District Attorney’s Office has ruled a deputy will not face criminal charges for shooting and killing a suspect who charged at and punched him inside an apartment complex earlier this year.

The suspect who was killed, later identified as 27-year-old Golden resident Bailey Turner, had attacked a seemingly random bystander moments before and shouted “LSD is great!” at the man as he was carrying groceries into his apartment with his wife and daughter, according to a decision letter released Tuesday afternoon by the DA’s Office.

The deputy involved, Walter Berlinski, was hospitalized for a head injury following the January 16 incident.

PREVIOUS STORY | Suspect killed by Adams County deputy ID'd

That evening, according to the decision letter, Turner was spotted inside the Pine Tree Village Apartments at 7520 Broadway “screaming,” “growling” and “acting belligerent.” A man who lived there told police as he was carrying groceries inside with his wife and daughter, Turner stopped him and punched him.

According to the decision letter, the man told police Turner put him into a headlock, and when he escaped, continued to charge and advance on him. The neighbor described Turner as “evil and angry” – and “ready to bite.” The man told police during the fight, he was able to knock Turner unconscious and went back into his apartment to wait for law enforcement to arrive.

When help arrived, the man said he heard several several gunshots, and laid on the ground to protect his daughter.

Berlinski was the deputy who was dispatched to that scene. He said the entire incident lasted only a minute, but he became concerned that he wouldn’t come home, the decision letter says.

The deputy found Turner inside of a narrow hallway that he described as a "fatal funnel," according to the decision letter. Berlinski told investigators that he initially tried to shoot the suspect with his stun gun, but that it wasn’t successful, and Turner continued to approach.

The letter says Turner punched Berlinski in the face, and the pair got into a fight – prompting the deputy to fire his stun gun once again.

This was also unsuccessful, and Berlinski told investigators that Turner came at him with “clinched fists” and a “blank stare” – something that the deputy interpreted as “wanting to kill somebody,” according to the decision letter.

That’s when Berlinski fired multiple rounds at Turner, hitting him in the chest, the letter says. Turner continued to walk toward the deputy and the two engaged in a struggle, Berlinski said.

At one point, Turner fell to the ground, according to the letter, and tried to pull Berlinski onto the ground with him. Fearing for his life, Berlinski fired his gun again, and told investigators the struggle finally came to an end.

Turner was pronounced dead at the hospital. According to the Adams County coroner, he had been shot 10 times, and had taken LSD and meth shortly before his death.

According to the district attorney, Berlinski was justified in shooting Turner because he was combative and the deputy feared for his life.