Bodycam: La Salle police officer indicted for murder in shooting death of man at Family Dollar store
A grand jury has indicted a La Salle police officer on murder charges in the fatal shooting last month of a 38-year-old man in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store.
The 19th Judicial District Statutory Grand Jury issued an indictment dated June 23 against La Salle Police Officer Erik Hernandez after determining his use of force was not justified, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office announced in a Monday news release.
On May 3, Hernandez and another officer encountered a suspicious vehicle parked outside the Family Dollar, 165 S. 2nd Street in LaSalle. Police deemed the car suspicious because the vehicle identification number was obscured and there was no record of the out-of-state license plate, according to Hernandez’s indictment. Officers parked a patrol car behind the Dodge Magnum, so the driver could not leave before they found them.
When the officers attempted to locate the vehicle owner in the store, the man, Juston Reffel, ran out of the store to his car, the grand jury wrote.
Hernandez exited the store and yelled for Reffel to get out of the vehicle as the driver went in reverse. Reffel then pulled out of the parking space. The officer, prosecutors allege, then fired four shots, hitting Reffel in the torso. Reffel managed to drive the car onto a street, where he crashed into another vehicle. He later died at the hospital.
Hernandez has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and jailed, according to the release. A judge set the bond at $50,000. He is scheduled for a bond hearing on Aug. 23.