(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said the review of an officer-involved shooting that occurred in October 2021 near the Vanguard School has been completed, and the use of force that resulted in the suspect’s death was ruled justified.
The shooting happened on Oct. 28, 2021, after the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) received multiple 911 calls reporting shots fired in the 1600 block of South Nevada Avenue, just west of the Vanguard School. The 4th Judicial DA’s Office said the suspect, Ahmad Akeem Abdul Muhammad, fired multiple shots into a car driving through a parking lot on Nevada.
Multiple officers responded to the area after Muhammad ran from the scene. Witnesses told officers which direction they had seen Muhammad running, and officers pursued him on foot, with the assistance of a CSPD drone.
Muhammad was contacted by staff at the Vanguard School on school property, before then being confronted by Officer Heather Mesmer at the southwest corner of the Vanguard School. After Muhammad refused to comply with multiple commands from Officer Mesmer to put his hands up and get on his knees, Lieutenant Mark Chacon, Sergeant Jason Reeser, Officer Robert Comstock, and Sergeant Earnest Hengs converged on the intersection, where the CSPD drone captured video of Muhammad’s actions.
The 4th Judicial DA’s Office said Muhammad continued to advance on the officers while ignoring commands to stop, and reached into his pants to draw a handgun. He pointed the gun at the officers, and pulled the slide on the gun in a motion that appeared to be the chambering of a round.
Officers Mesmer, Comstock, Lieutenant Chacon, and Sergeant Hengst fired at Muhammad, though none of the shots hit him. He ran south on Corona Avenue and continued to point his gun at officers and bystanders, and was fired on by Sergeant Reeser, though he was not hit by those shots either.
Eventually, after a lengthy foot chase assisted by the drone, Officer Comstock and Officer Paul Hubbard encountered Muhammad near the Vanguard Elementary School, where Muhammad continued to wave his gun in the direction of officers and the school zone. Officers Comstock and Hubbard then fired their weapons, and Muhammad was hit three times. Medical aid was provided by officers and the Colorado Springs Fire Department, but Muhammad ultimately died of his gunshot wounds at the hospital.
“Officers had an objectively reasonable belief that Mr. Muhammed did in fact pose an imminent danger to multiple police officers including themselves, adults and/or children who could be in the vehicles, and to the civilians potentially occupying the homes, and school in the immediate area,” said Howard Black, the 4th Judicial DA’s Director of Communications in a press release.
After a review of all officer’s Body Worn Cameras, the drone footage, nearby security footage, and interviews with officers and bystanders, the 4th Judicial DA’s Office said the use of deadly force by all officers involved was justified, based on the evidence within the videos that showed Muhammad posed an imminent danger to the lives of officers and bystanders.