KUSA — Newly-released body camera footage shows just how quickly three Douglas County deputies reacted when a suspect suddenly brandished a gun at them during what began as a traffic stop the afternoon of Aug. 31.
A man with multiple felony warrants was killed during the nine-second confrontation. Two deputies and a detective were ultimately placed on leave, and a busy stretch of U.S. 85 near Sedalia closed for hours due to the ensuing investigation.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock released body and dash camera footage of the shooting during a news conference on Monday afternoon, as well as provided new information about the incident for the first time since it happened.
The suspect who was killed has been identified as Paul Askins. According to court records, the 61-year-old has a criminal history in Colorado dating back to an assault charge in 2013. Spurlock said he was wanted on felony warrants out of Colorado Springs for second-degree burglary and failure to appear – but deputies did not know this until after he was shot.
According to Spurlock, the shooting stemmed from a traffic stop off U.S. 85 and Delva Way. Two deputies initially responded and an undercover detective who happened to be driving by came to help.
Spurlock said during their investigation, the deputies discovered that one of the passengers in the vehicle that had been pulled over had a protection order against them, and law enforcement was trying to determine if the person who first filed the restraining order was in the car.
Askins, who was in the backseat, gave the deputies false names and birthdays, according to Spurlock, who speculated that it was because he was concerned about his warrants.
This prompted them to ask further questions, and as they tried to get him out of the car, he brandished a gun.
The two deputies and the detective then fired at almost exactly the same time.
“It was just a matter of all the officers seeing the exact same weapon at the same time at different locations,” Spurlock said.
One of the deputies is seen falling onto the ground right after opening fire. While Spurlock said police were initially concerned he had been shot, they later learned he was not injured and had simply lost his balance.
In the video, the suspect is seen falling onto the side of the road and staying down. During initial reports, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said Askins fired the gun at deputies. Spurlock said their investigation has revealed this was not the case, though his firearm was loaded.
“He did not fire his weapon,” Spurlock said.
The body camera footage does not have audio, so it’s not clear what the deputies are saying to Askins or if he spoke to them. Spurlock said in the last audible part of the video, the suspect asks if it is alright if he lifts up his cane.
Spurlock said he will not be identifying the deputies involved in the incident at this time. He did say that one was a two-year veteran of the department, one was an eight-year veteran, and another had been with Douglas County for 16 years.
Two of them have returned to duty, and the other is still on leave for unrelated reasons, Spurlock said.
No one else has been taken into custody as the result of the incident, which remains under investigation. Spurlock said two women and another man were in the vehicle with Askins at the time of the traffic stop.