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The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of a suspect shot and killed by deputies near Sedalia last month, along with body camera and dash-camera footage of the incident that shows frantic officers opening fire on a man they believed had shot at another deputy. The sheriff’s office announced Aug. 31 on Twitter that officers had shot and killed an armed suspect, now confirmed as Paul Askins, 61, of Colorado Springs, but declined to release his identity prior to Sept. 17, citing the open investigation. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said a routine stop for a traffic violation escalated into the shooting when officers attempted to question Askins, who they now know was wanted for two felony warrants and had a criminal history in Colorado and Texas. “I just wanted to have the opportunity to share with you a little bit of information about what took place on Aug. 31,” Spurlock said at a Sept. 17 news conference. The shooting began when the driver of a pickup truck was pulled over for making an unsafe turn in front of two deputies on US Highway 85 near Delva Road at approximately 4:41 p.m. that day.
Officers spoke to the truck’s occupants for roughly 20 minutes and after checking identifications, learned the driver had a restraining order against her for a man matching Askins’ description. Askins was a passenger in the vehicle’s backseat.While officers tried to determine if Askins was in fact the protected person in that retraining order, he gave them multiple names, raising their suspicion, Spurlock said. They had asked Askins to get out of the vehicle so they could further question him when he opened the truck’s door with a handgun pointed at them. In total, three officers were involved in the shooting — two deputies who made the initial traffic stop while working from the same vehicle and a third undercover officer who was in the area at the time of the call and stopped to assist them. Footage shows the undercover officer and one deputy were to the left and rear of the truck as a third deputy stood on the truck’s right, back passenger door where Askins was seated.
The deputy asked Askins to exit the truck moments before he opened the door with a gun raised. The deputy sprung back, falling down into the ditch and appeared to shoot at Askins from the ground. Within seconds, all three officers fired their weapons at Askins after he ignored the deputy’s command not to move and continued advancing toward the fallen deputy, gun raised. “Shots fired,” an officer shouted as a deputy is seen from his body camera footage reloading his weapon and approaching Askins, who fell to the ground after officers opened fire. Spurlock said the undercover officer and the deputy believed Askins had shot at the deputy standing by his door when they fired their weapons. All three officers were placed on administrative leave and two have returned to duty. The third has not returned for reasons unrelated to the case, Spurlock said. The sheriff confirmed in the Sept. 17 news conference Askins was wanted for felony charges and likely gave officer multiple names to avoid being identified.
Spurlock said they are still determining if the gun he attempted to use against officers was legally purchased. Court records show Askins was charged with a slew of felonies from El Paso County, including drug possession, felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon and sexual contact without consent, among others. The active warrants were for second-degree burglary and failure to appear in court, according to the sheriff’s office. Three people — two women and a man — were in the truck with Askins but none were injured or charged with crimes related to this or other incidents. Some details in the case haven’t been released yet because the investigation is on-going, Spurlock said, including names of the officers involved. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is investigating the shooting to determine if officers were justified in using lethal force. Spurlock said his agency’s investigation is being aided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.
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