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Officer who fired weapon at car theft suspect won't be charged

Officer Jared Fender fired at the suspect after he was shot in the leg. The coroner determined that the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Credit: KUSA

LAFAYETTE, Colorado — A man in a stolen car fatally shot himself after shooting an officer in the leg in November, according to a decision letter from the Boulder County District Attorney's Office, which investigated the officer's use of force.

On Tuesday, the DA's Office announced that the officer will not be charged in connection with the Nov. 8 incident in Lafayette.

Just before 1:30 a.m. that morning, officers with the Lafayette Police Department received an automated License Plate Reader alert about a stolen vehicle near South Boulder Road and Dixon Avenue.

The stolen vehicle, a silver Toyota Camry, was at a Circle K gas on West South Boulder Road. It was at a gas pump, unoccupied, according to police.

When 20-year-old Ethan Huiras came out of the Circle K, he spotted the officers and ran around the building and tried to re-enter the stolen car, the letter says.

Lafayette Police Officer Jared Fender attempted to grab Huiras' arm to prevent him from leaving, the decision letter says. As he did, Fender reported that he saw Huiras reach toward his waistband.

At that point, that Fender disengaged from the struggle, took cover and drew his service weapon, the letter says.

Fender yelled at Huiras, “Don’t, don’t you do it! What do you got in your hands? Show me your hands,” the letter says.

Huiras got out of the stolen car, pointed a gun at Fender and fired, striking him in the leg, according to the letter.

Fender fell to the ground behind the car and heard Huiras fire two more shots. The third shot fired by Huiras was later determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Boulder County Coroner's Office.

Fender didn't know that at that time that Huiras had shot himself, and he fired nine times toward the back of the stolen car, in the direction of where he believed Huiras was. None of those shots hit Huiras.

The DA's Office found that Fender was justified when he fired his weapon because he believed he was in 'imminent danger." He will not be charged.

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