Judge Tosses Woman's Red Flag Complaint Against Cop Who Shot Her Son
Fort Collins, CO – The woman who attempted to use Colorado’s newly-enacted red flag law to strip away the firearms rights of the officer who fatally shot her son had her request denied by a district court judge on Thursday.
The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, allows a law enforcement officer, household member, or family member to file such paperwork if they believe an individual is a threat to themselves or to others, KUSA reported.
On Jan. 9., Susan Holmes used the red flag law to file an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) petition and affidavit against Colorado State University (CSU) Corporal Philip Morris.
Cpl. Morris fatally shot her son, 19-year-old Jeremy Holmes, after Jeremy lunged at him with a large hunting knife on July 1, 2017.
Larimer County District Attorney Clifford Riedel determined that the officer’s use of deadly force was “clearly justified,” according to KDVR.
On the ERPO paperwork, under the penalty of perjury, Susan falsely claimed that she and Cpl. Morris have a child together and that the officer is her family member, KUSA reported.
Susan previously said that she planned to argue her interpretation of what “have a child in common” actually means, according to KDVR.
On Thursday, a Larimer County district court judge determined that Cpl. Morris is not Susan’s family member, and that Susan had no grounds for filing the request.
One day prior to the judge’s finding, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith publicly announced in a Facebook post that he “had not and would not” serve Susan’s petition on Cpl. Morris “because it is a fraud.”
“Under Colorado’s flawed ERPO law, Ms. Holmes was able to file a petition against the CSU officer, despite the facts that Ms. Holmes has no legal standing and the petition on its face has zero merit,” Sheriff Smith wrote.
Susan could face potential criminal charges as a result.
“We are actively investigating this abuse of the system and we will determine what charges may be substantiated against the petitioner, Ms. Holmes,” Sheriff Smith said. “Because this represents an active investigation, I will not be making any additional comments on this case at this time.”
Sheriff Smith noted that the incident has exposed “the tremendous potential for abuse of ill drafted, politically motivated laws, like Colorado’s Red Flag law.”
The fatal altercation between Cpl. Morris and Jeremy occurred after Susan called police to report that Jeremy was armed with a knife and threatening to kill his brother, KDVR reported.
Jeremy was still armed with the large knife when Cpl. Morris and a second CSU officer encountered him in the 550-block of West Prospect Road, according to KUSA.
Bodycam footage showed that during the two minutes that followed, police ordered Jeremy to drop the 11-inch blade over 40 times, according to the Coloradoan.
The suspect refused to comply and demanded that the officers shoot him.
At one point during the encounter, Cpl. Morris started to holster his duty weapon so he could deploy a Taser to subdue him, but Jeremy charged at him with the knife as he was trying to transition weapons, KUSA reported.
Both officers opened fire, killing him.
Police investigators described the incident as a situation of “suicide by cop,” KUSA reported.
Susan has since claimed that police overreacted in handling her 911 call.
“Kids say that all the time about ‘I’m gonna kill my brother…he’s pissed me off,’” she told KDVR. “I didn’t even take it seriously.”
In her ERPO petition and affidavit, Susan alleged that “Phil Morris used his firearm to recklessly & violently threaten and kill” her son.
Susan also endorsed a statement on the petition accusing Cpl. Morris of threatening or harming others.
"There have been a pattern of acts or credible threats of violence by the respondent in the last year, including but not limited to acts or credible threats of violence against self or others,” the document read, according to the Coloradoan.
Susan provided no evidence to bolster her bold claim, noting only that the details of the additional alleged wrongdoings were “unknown but possible,” the Coloradoan reported.
She also alleged that it is “unknown but possible,” that Cpl. Morris may have previously been convicted of a domestic violence offense, and accused him of “ongoing violence and aggression from 2013-2017.”
“I filed this ERPO because there was a coverup in my son’s murder,” Susan told KDVR. “I believe Officer Phil Morris murdered my son.”
She noted that Cpl. Morris is “absolutely” a danger to the public.
“He shouldn’t even be a police officer!” she declared.
Susan also dismissed questions regarding her claim that she and Cpl. Morris share a child together.
“People might think it’s weird. I don’t.” she told KDVR shortly after her filing. “I can’t talk about my strategy of what I’m going to present in court on that.”
Susan said she is pushing to have the red flag law amended so that members of the public can file for ERPOs against law enforcement officers.
“I’ve never received any justice, and neither has my son,” Susan said in a YouTube video showcasing her petition paperwork. “He was slaughtered by Officer Phil Morris…I think he should never have a gun again in his life. He shouldn’t even be a police officer.”
“Jeremy’s just quietly walking down the street doing nothing. No harm to anybody. Nothing,” she added. “[Cpl. Morris is] out of control and violent and kills teenagers.”
Colorado House Minority Leader Representative Patrick Neville blasted the red flag law in a tweet on Tuesday.
"We predicted this and said a falsely accused person has no recourse other than hoping a DA files charges. No recourse to recoup lost wages or reputation," Neville wrote. "One example of many about how this bill was so horribly written."
Susan, who held up a “Kill All Police…They Are Killing Us” sign during a protest at CSU in 2017, has also filed a civil lawsuit against CSU, the Coloradoan reported.