(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) officer-involved shooting in January of last year has been ruled justified by the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s (DA) Office.
The shooting happened on the evening of Jan. 19, 2022, and the incident that led up to the shooting began near the Colorado Springs Airport in the 4700 block of Harrier Ridge Drive, which is near the intersection of Milton E. Proby Parkway and Hancock Expressway.
According to the DA’s Office, CSPD Officer Jared Huston was in his patrol car, parked next to another officer when they heard the sound of a bullet passing their cruisers. When the officers left the parking lot to investigate, they spotted an SUV in the nearby area of Morning Mist Drive with its brake lights on. When the officers attempted to follow the SUV, the driver pulled away and left the area at a high rate of speed.
Officers were able to track down the SUV by following its tire tracks in the snow, later spotting it westbound on Drennan Road. When the officers activated their emergency lights, the SUV turned into a cul-de-sac.
The SUV’s driver, later identified as Austin Hood, turned around and drove past officers, who were able to see through an open window and identify a white man driving, who was wearing a beanie cap with white lettering and a fluffy, black jacket.
Hood continued driving westbound on Drennan Road to the 3900 block of Patrick Drive when Officer Huston pulled into the Colony Hills apartment complex to look for him.
Officer Huston spotted Hood nearing the entrance of the apartment building with his body-worn camera activated and recording the incident. Hood immediately ran into the apartment building, and Officer Huston began pursuing him while announcing “Police, let me see your hands!”
Officer Huston chased Hood through the building before drawing his duty handgun and entering the common area. Officer Huston spotted Hood near a stairwell door and “leveling a handgun at him with both hands,” according to the DA’s Office.
“Believing he was about to be killed, and worried for the safety of the residents in the occupied apartments all around them, Officer Huston fired two shots from his duty handgun,” stated the DA’s Office. Hood was hit, dropped his weapon, and fell to the ground.
When additional CSPD officers arrived, they secured Hood and his weapon. While removing Hood’s clothing to provide medical aid, officers discovered that he was wearing Point-Blank brand Kevlar body armor.
“The handgun found at the scene was a Sig Sauer .45 caliber which was partially loaded, with a round chambered, and the weapon in single action, with the safety off,” wrote the DA’s Office.
Hood’s SUV was also located in the apartment complex parking lot, and “a spent .45 cartridge casing was found in the groove of the roof near the cargo door of Hood’s SUV,” according to the DA’s Office. No other casings were found.
Hood was transported to a hospital, where he was found to have sustained a “through and through gunshot” to his left shoulder and a superficial abrasion to his left outer thigh.
Hood pled guilty to First Degree Assault Against a Peace Officer and Menacing. He was sentenced to 25 years in the Department of Corrections.
“After completing a thorough review of the facts and evidence, the DA’s Office determined the use of deadly physical force by Officer Huston was justified based on all the facts and circumstance of this case under the law of the State of Colorado,” stated the DA’s Office.