Weld County, CO – Prosecutors have ruled that police were justified in their use of force when they fatally shot a man who fired 55 shots at Greeley police officers (video below).
The incident began at about 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2019 when Greeley police responded to a call about shots fired near 13th Street and 26th Avenue, KUSA reported.
Witnesses told police that a white pickup truck had been shooting at another vehicle.
Weld County sheriff’s deputies spotted the suspect vehicle an hour later at a gas station in Eaton, KUSA reported.
The truck fled and deputies pursued it at speeds of up to 90 mph before they terminated the chase for safety reasons.
Then a Greeley officer spotted the suspect vehicle going east on 37th Street near 47th Avenue, according to KUSA.
The decision letter from the 19th Judicial District Attorney's Office said that the Greeley officer chased the suspect into a residential neighborhood.
The chase ended at 37th Street and Marigold Avenue when two suspects jumped out of the pickup truck and started shooting at the officers, KUSA reported.
The prosecutor’s letter said one of the officers returned fire and the suspects shot him in the arm.
Bodycam video showed that the officer drove directly into gunfire to try and stop the suspect.
Then he jumped out of his patrol vehicle to return fire until he was hit.
A woman in the suspect’s vehicle was shot in the leg by police during the gunfight, KUSA reported.
That’s when the suspect – later identified as Russel Cooley – dashed into his family’s home in the 3600-block of Marigold Street and a standoff began.
The letter from the district attorney said that Cooley told police at 1:40 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2019 that his family was inside but that officers didn’t need to come inside because he was going to kill himself, KUSA reported.
Officers heard a shot fired from within the residence just five minutes later at 1:45 a.m.
Cooley’s stepfather called 911 and said he thought the suspect had shot himself, KUSA reported.
Dispatchers were able to instruct the family on how to safely exit the home without incident.
The letter said officers found Cooley dead, face down on the ground with the gun still in his right hand, KUSA reported.
Lab tests later revealed the suspect had a large amount of methamphetamine in his system when he died.
Officers found the rifle Cooley had used to shoot at law enforcement dismantled and hidden in a laundry basket, KUSA reported.
The officer who was wounded at the start of the gunfight underwent surgery 19 days after he was shot and is expected to make a full recovery, the prosecutor’s letter said.
Police found 19 bullet holes in the wounded hero’s police vehicle, according to KUSA.
They recovered 55 shell casings at the scene.
The letter from the prosecutor’s office said law enforcement were justified in using deadly force during the incident, KUSA reported.
Watch what happened when the officer got out of his vehicle in the video below: