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DA: Officer who died by suicide would have faced assault charges

An officer who died last month would have faced charges in connection with a domestic violence incident the week before he died, the district attorney said.

ESTES PARK, Colo. — An Estes Park officer who died by suicide last month would have faced charges in connection to a domestic violence incident that happened the week before he died, according to a critical incident response team investigation. 

Eric Rose, 61, was found dead outside of his Estes Park home on Sept. 23, after law enforcement went to the home to serve a warrant for charges of assault and menacing, according to the investigation. 

Because Rose was an officer with the Estes Park Police Department, the department asked the 8th Judicial District's Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) to investigate the accusations against him. In this case, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office led the investigation, with help from the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office and the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. 

The investigation found that on Sept. 19, Rose had taken the victim to the hospital in his patrol car, saying that she was suffering from a seizure. Rose said the victim had fallen and hit her head while working on the deck at their home two days prior, and had been suffering from headaches ever since. 

The next day, the victim told another family member that her injuries were not the result of an accident, but were the result of domestic violence caused by Rose, according to the investigation. 

> Resources for victims of domestic violence in Larimer County

That family member told two other family members, who are both members of the Colorado State University Police Department (CSUPD). They reported what they learned to their chain of command, according to the investigation. The CSUPD police chief then contacted Estes Park Police Chief Wes Kufeld and told him the victim's injuries were alleged to be the result of domestic violence committed by Rose, according to the investigation. 

The investigation found that on the day of the alleged assault, Rose and the victim had attended a party, where Rose became intoxicated. When they got home, the two got into an argument, and Rose repeatedly hit the victim with a handgun and kicked her after she fell to the ground, according to investigators. 

Another family member tried to intervene, but Rose shoved her aside, according to the investigation. The victim eventually escaped and locked herself in another part of the home. 

> If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). 

Law enforcement obtained an arrest warrant for Rose on Sept. 23, according to the investigation. Investigators reached out to him several times, but he did not respond to phone calls or text messages, according to the investigation. Around 9:18 p.m. that night, officers approached the home and found Rose's body outside. 

In a letter Tuesday, District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said that if Rose had survived, he would have faced charges of first-degree assault, menacing and prohibited use of weapons, as well as a domestic violence sentence enhancement. 

Kufeld and Estes Park Town Administrator Travis Machalek responded to the news in a statement Tuesday

"First, we were devastated by the loss of Captain Rose to suicide, and now we are devastated to learn about his history of violence at home. This is a shock to us. We struggle knowing that we weren’t aware of his extensive personal history of domestic violence," the police chief said in the statement.

"Our community has placed great faith in all of us at the Estes Park Police Department," the statement read. "We are community-oriented public servants, and we intend to do everything we can to keep your trust through this devastating revelation about one of our officers. We are fortunate to have built lasting partnerships with our citizens and visitors. We value those and look forward to that continuing into the future."

District Attorney Gordon P. McLaughlin has released his official opinion letter on the Eighth Judicial District’s...

Posted by Town of Estes Park Colorado on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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> Resources for victims of domestic violence in Larimer County