MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — An officer involved shooting in which the suspect and a K9 officer were killed has been ruled justified by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

In a press release, the 4th Judicial DA announced the ruling and provided additional details about what led up to the shooting that left K9 Jinx and 67-year-old Wilford Robert Deweese dead.

Around 11 p.m. on the night of April 11, the Manitou Springs Police Department (MSPD) received a call from a bartender at the Royal Tavern on Manitou Avenue stating an intoxicated patron had pointed a gun at her. When MSPD officers arrived, the person had left the tavern, but a suspect matching the description provided by the bartender was located by officers.

The suspect was later identified as Deweese. Deweese refused multiple requests from officers to approach and discuss the incident at Royal Tavern, and instead remained partially hidden from officers and ignored repeated warnings to keep his hands visible.

After continued failed attempts to get Deweese to comply, Deputy Ronnie Hancock with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) displayed his K9 partner Jinx to the suspect, in an attempt to necessitate Deweese’s compliance. During the verbal exchange between Deweese and Deputy Hancock, law enforcement noted an increased threat to public safety, as people in surrounding businesses and on the street gathered along Manitou Avenue.

When Deweese continued to ignore commands from police to approach them with his hands empty, Deputy Hancock released K9 Jinx. As Jinx ran toward the base of the walkway where Deweese was standing, Deweese pulled a handgun without warning from his pocket and shot K9 Jinx in the head.

Deweese then began firing at approaching officers, at which time two EPSO deputies including Hancock and two officers with MSPD fired back, striking Deweese 22 times. Manitou Springs Fire Department assisted in life-saving measures, but Deweese ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

According to the 4th Judicial DA’s press release, the use of deadly force against Deweese was deemed justified after body-worn camera video and bystander video filmed by witnesses was reviewed to confirm accounts. The justification states that officers reacted accordingly in order to preserve life and subdue Deweese when it became apparent that any force lesser would not be sufficient.

“After completing a thorough review of the facts and evidence, Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has determined the use of deadly physical force by Manitou Springs Police Officers Hoover and Schuelke and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Hancock and LeBaron was justified based on all the facts and circumstance of this case under the law of the State of Colorado,” stated the 4th Judicial DA’s press release.