Colorado Springs Police shoot suspect who was hiding in the crawlspace after a dangerous dog call
The ado Springs Police Department (CSPD) has released relevant information and body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting that took place on March 12 at a home on North Foote Avenue, northwest of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.
According to the Significant Event release from CSPD, the call for service originated from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), which requested the assistance of CSPD officers in conducting a search warrant at the home on Foote Avenue, in order to seize a “dangerous dog” that had recently injured several people.
HSPPR requested CSPD’s help because the owner of the dog, 52-year-old Jose Aponte, was uncooperative and possibly had active warrants for his arrest. CSPD confirmed that Aponte did in fact have a felony arrest warrant and multiple misdemeanor warrants, and he also had a protection order that prohibited him from being at the Foote Avenue home.
Just before 1:45 p.m. on March 12, CSPD officers and members of HSPPR served the search warrant at the home. CSPD said while officers were inside the home, the dog, described as a large pit bull, attacked an officer and bit his leg. To stop the attack, the officer fired a shot at the dog, hitting and killing it. HSPPR removed the dog from the home.
Later that day, at 5:34 p.m., CSPD received a call stating that a man with active warrants was at the home on Foote Avenue, but no officers were available to respond. Another call was received just after 9 p.m., once again requesting assistance, and stating that someone heard screaming, and had seen a man shaking his fist at a woman in the home.
When officers arrived, they searched the home but did not find Aponte; however, after the search, the woman at the home told officers Aponte was still hiding somewhere in the home. CSPD said officers continued to search past midnight, and shortly thereafter, found Aponte in a crawl space, concealed by bags and boxes.
Aponte refused to obey commands from officers to show his hands, and could be heard telling officers they would have to shoot him, and he would “die like his dog.”
Officers tried to use a taser on Aponte, but due to the clutter of trash bags surrounding him, it failed. Aponte then moved his hand from behind a trash bag, displaying what CSPD described as a “metallic object” and pointing it at officers. At this point, Officer Pierre Gutierrez fired three shots, hitting Aponte and injuring him.
Officers provided medical aid to Aponte on scene, before he was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Investigators later found a metal flashlight on the floor where Aponte was shot.
Aponte was charged with felony Domestic Violence and a misdemeanor Protection Order Violation.
The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, and will be sent to the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office once complete, to determine whether the officer’s use of force complied with ado law.