(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) has released a briefing and relevant video footage of an incident in early April at the Citadel Mall, in which a suspect apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following an exchange of gunfire with police.
As part of its Significant Event transparency policy implemented at the beginning of 2023, CSPD released a video briefing of the incident on April 3 at the Citadel Mall, as well as the identities of the involved officer and the suspect.
WARNING: The video footage contained in CSPD’s release depicts graphic imagery and may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised.
According to CSPD, officers with the Fugitive Task Force followed 19-year-old Brandon Harris in a car that CSPD had confirmed was stolen, after Harris had met up with a group of four other people in another car, also confirmed stolen, and traveled to the Citadel Mall on the afternoon of April 3. CSPD said Harris had an active felony arrest warrant for Parole Violation, and was believed to be armed with a handgun at the time.
Harris and the four other people went into the mall, where CSPD said detectives continued surveillance. Due to the suspect’s active warrant and the fact that Harris was believed to be armed, as well as the presence of the four other people and stolen cars, detectives requested help from the Tactical Enforcement Unit (TEU).
The TEU made contact with the group as they left the food court just after 5 p.m., and all five people ran from officers. The other four people, three teens and an adult, were caught, and police said three were armed.
CSPD said Harris ran into the west doors of the Burlington Coat Factory store. As he was running through the doors, officers noted that Harris had produced a handgun.
Officers chased after Harris through the store to the east wall, while identifying themselves as police and giving Harris commands to stop, though he did not comply, CSPD said. Customers were inside the store at the time, and officers began evacuating them immediately.
Once officers confronted Harris, and ordered him to drop his gun, CSPD said he fired one round at officers, which missed and hit nearby merchandise between himself and Detective Brandon Felice with the Violent Offender Fugitive Task Force. Felice has been with CSPD for 20 years.
Felice fired three shots back at Harris, none of which hit him, according to CSPD. Following the exchange, Harris apparently took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Body-worn camera footage shows officers providing immediate medical attention and calling for emergency medical support. Harris was taken to the hospital where he died, CSPD said.
Harris’ death is being investigated as a suicide by self-inflicted means, though the El Paso County Coroner will determine his cause and manner of death. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) is the lead investigative agency, and CSPD said evidence suggests none of Detective Felice’s rounds hit Harris.
If the coroner’s office determines Harris’s death was a suicide, Colorado law does not require the investigation be reviewed by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s (DA) Office to determine if the officers’ use of force was justified. However, CSPD said due to the nature of the case, once completed, EPSO would send its investigation to the DA for review.