UPDATE: THURSDAY 12/08/2022 9:10 p.m.

(COLORADO SPRINGS) — During a press conference on Thursday, Dec. 8, 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen addressed public discourse surrounding the alleged Club Q shooter’s previous criminal case that was sealed in August of 2022.

In an effort to “correct misinformation being spread by the media and certain politicians hoping to take advantage of the horrors associated with what happened at Club Q on November 19th,” the DA stated it is his “unending mission,” to provide truth to the residents of the Pikes Peak region and to the nation by increasing transparency.

The DA’s Office along with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) have come under scrutiny for the dismissal of a previous criminal case that was sealed by request of the alleged Club Q shooter in 2022.

Public outcry and speculation into the preventability of the Club Q tragedy is a question that has haunted members of the community since the shooting. The Associated Press even labeled the sealed case as “one of the most glaring missed warnings in America’s sad litany of mass violence.”

Previously, the DA and EPSO were unable to comment or provide detailed information regarding the 2021 incident as they were bound by Colorado law to regard the sealed case as nonexistent. As a result, the public accused the DA and EPSO of failing to fully prosecute the suspect in 2021, seize weapons used during those crimes and ultimately allow the alleged shooter to kill five people and injure dozens of others a year later.

In Thursday’s press conference, the DA was finally able to address public discourse and provide answers after the court ruled in favor of unsealing the suspect’s previous records.

Watch the full press conference with DA Allen below.

To preface the case, Allen cited the following Colorado Statutes which can be examined on the Colorado Bar Association’s website:

  • Ethics Rule 3.6 governs what a lawyer can say publicly about a case.
  • Ethics Rule 3.8 governs what prosecutors can and can’t say.
  • Colorado Revised Statute 24-72-703 prevents DAs and other criminal justice agencies from making public comments about sealed cases. Upon an inquiry into a sealed record, a criminal justice agency shall reply that a public criminal record does not exist with respect to the defendant, who is the subject of the sealed record.

“The language in the statute creates the ridiculous scenario where we know the media knows and the public knows that something happened, that something was filed with the court, and yet we have to make false statements to comply with the law,” said Allen.

The DA explained that charges in the 2021 incident were not pursued and the case was dismissed because the victims of the incident – the mother and grandparents of the suspect – declined to testify or comply with subpoenas to appear in court before the speedy trial deadline. Without a witness to stand in court in front of a jury, be subject to cross-examination and testify, any statements made by the suspect during the 2021 incident would not be admissible in court.

“If witnesses cannot be produced at a trial and we are against speedy trial, it is very common for a court to dismiss a case,” said Allen. “The court did not act inappropriately in that regard.”

The suspect entered a not-guilty plea during their Jan. 27 arraignment, which then put in motion the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. The DA would have six months by Colorado statute to get the case to trial before the July 26, 2022 deadline. Due to the inability of the prosecutor to serve the subpoenas to the victims and the victims’ unwillingness to cooperate with the case, a continuance was asked during each court hearing. Three weeks before the deadline, a request for continuance was denied and the case was moved to be dismissed on July 5, 2022.

According to Allen, the victims were avoiding everyone in the case and, “it probably appeared to the judge that there was no likelihood that these people were going to submit to service.” Allen said the victims not cooperating led to the dismissal of the case.

During one of the hearings, the suspect’s mother told the court that they were “loving and passionate,” while the grandmother described the suspect as a “sweet young man that did not deserve to be in jail.” The suspect’s grandfather added that they are “unusually bright and someone who will take advantage of a second chance.”

Allen said the purported victims later had different statements, which resulted in the court modifying a protection order and lowering the suspect’s initial $1 million bond to $100,000. The judge at the time stated they were willing to further lower the bond if the defendant was admitted to an inpatient program and participate in therapy. The defendant bonded out of the Criminal Justice Center on Aug. 7, 2021.

During the investigation, two weapons were seized by law enforcement, which included a 9mm pistol noted in evidence as a “ghost gun,” with a Glock frame, no serial number, model or make. The other weapon was an MM 15-556 rifle. Both weapons remain in the custody of EPSO.

Allen stated that the suspect had requested for the release of the weapons but was denied by the sheriff’s office.

When asked if the Club Q tragedy could have been prevented, Allen said the only way it could have been prevented was if the witnesses were present at trial, testified, and the suspect was convicted leading to an extended period of time in custody.

“Absent that, I don’t see anything about that prior case that would have prevented this club shooting, unfortunately,” Allen said.

Allen reiterated that the DA’s office had filed a motion the first Monday after the Club Q shooting to unseal the suspect’s records.

“I want the community to know that as soon as the Club Q shooting happened, we immediately began working to unseal that case so that the public could have the truth… Obviously, the court system takes time. And so I would just encourage people that when you see people jumping to a conclusion without having all of the facts maybe they should question the motive behind jumping to that conclusion.”

The DA is calling on the legislature to amend the sealing statute to allow immediate and automatic unsealing if a certain level of crime is committed. He also advocated for the court to rule within 24 hours of any district attorney’s request to unseal records. Allen stated he believes this would prevent the spread of misinformation for future cases.

“The legislature created this problem with the way the statute is written, and it must be changed when a devastating crime is committed and the citizens of this great state should have the ability to learn what happened in prior instances, including even in dismissed cases.”

Allen mentioned additional Colorado district attorneys supporting this proposed change, which includes Thomas Raynes, the Head of Colorado District Attorney’s Counsel, Boulder DA Michael Dougherty, and Arapahoe County DA John Kellner. Allen also encourages the public to reach out to elected representatives.

ORIGINAL STORY: WATCH: Alleged Club Q shooter’s 2021 case file unsealed

THURSDAY 12/08/2022 1:10 p.m.

On the morning of Thursday, Dec. 8, 4th Judicial District Judge Chittum unsealed the case file of an apparent investigation involving the alleged Club Q shooter in 2021.

According to the Colorado Courts’ twitter, the case file will be released on the 4th Judicial District’s webpage once it is completed by the clerk.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will also release its report on the investigation that happened in 2021 and will release a statement of its own in the afternoon.

4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen is holding a press conference to discuss the unsealed case file at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

FOX21 News will have a crew at the DA’s Office and will live stream the press conference once it begins.