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Off-duty officer won't be charged in fatal shooting in Carl's Jr. drive-thru

The man was shot after getting into the back seat of the officer's car while he was sitting in the drive-thru of the Colorado Springs restaurant.
Credit: KRDO Staff

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — No charges will be filed against an off-duty officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) who fatally shot a man in the drive-thru of a Carl's Jr. restaurant back in February, according to 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Officers with CSPD initially responded to the Loaf 'N Jug store located at 1019 Space Center Drive shortly before 4 a.m. on Feb. 27 regarding a robbery in which the suspect took four or five Modelo bottled beers from the cooler and attempted to leave without paying, prosecutors said.

As the clerk tried to block the suspect from leaving, the suspect said he had a gun, shoved past the clerk and left the store, according to the district attorney's office.

RELATED: Off-duty officer shoots, kills man who broke into his vehicle in a Carl's Jr. drive-thru

The clerk reported that he felt what he believed to be a gun in the suspect’s pocket and immediately called 911.

This incident was captured on Loaf ‘N Jug’s surveillance video, according to the district attorney's office.

Security video then shows the same man walking behind the store toward a nearby Waffle House. From there, a figure is seen on security video from the Waffle House walking through the restaurant parking lot and then through a field toward the Carl’s Jr, which is located at 1059 Space Center Drive. 

At 3:43 a.m., the suspect, later identified as Desmond Hayes, approached the personal vehicle of Lucas Aragon, an off-duty CSPD officer at the drive-thru window of Carl’s Jr. 

Hayes opened the rear passenger door, got into the vehicle, and according to prosecutors, said he had a gun and ordered Aragon to take him where he wanted to go or he would get hurt.

Hayes had his hand in his jacket pocket and was pointing an object at Aragon that appeared to be a gun, the DA's office said.

Aragon later recounted to investigators that he believed it was a gun and that his best chance to live was to shoot Hayes.

He fired his personal weapon at Hayes, striking him nine times and then jumped from his vehicle and called 911, according to investigators.

RELATED: Clear Creek County officer-involved shooting referred to grand jury

While standing outside of his vehicle, he reported that he could see Hayes moving in the back seat and he kept his gun trained on him as he waited for law enforcement. 

The worker at the window of Carl’s Jr. reported she could also see someone moving in the rear passenger seat as Aragon stood outside.

An investigation at the scene revealed Hayes had at least one full, sealed Modelo beer bottle in his jacket pocket when he was removed from the vehicle. Two more full, sealed Modelo bottled beers and glass fragments from another Modelo beer bottle were found after his jacket was removed by medical personnel. 

At the time he was shot, Hayes was committing attempted second-degree kidnapping, and other crimes, prosecutors said. 

Colorado law allows the use of physical force in self-defense which the DA said applied in the case. Prosecutors also noted because Aragon was off-duty an official review of the case was not required.

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