GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Prosecutors say officers were justified when they shot and killed a man during a confrontation in western Colorado.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Friday that District Attorney Dan Rubinstein cleared two Mesa County sheriff’s deputies and two Grand Junction police officers involved in the March 17 death of 51-year-old Steve Alire.
Investigators say a group playing basketball at a middle school told them Alire confronted them with a rifle before returning to his nearby home. Officers went to the home, and Alire came out with a rifle, which he said was a pellet gun, threw it on the ground and went back inside. He came out of the home again, grabbed the gun by the barrel and threw it further down the driveway. Investigators say the third time he came outside, he grabbed the gun and “started to bring it up toward (one of the officers).”
The officers and deputies fired 16 rounds at Alire. The rifle turned out to be a pellet gun.
Rubinstein says any jury would conclude that it was reasonable for the officers and deputies to believe they were in danger after Alire tried to grab what appeared to be a rifle that he was told multiple times to stay away from.