A Woodland Park police officer was justified when he shot and killed a Colorado Springs man who allegedly tried to run him over in January, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
“Officer Christopher Moeller was forced to make an instantaneous decision regarding the driver of a car that had just struck him and was again accelerating directly at him,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release. “The facts support his belief that his life was in imminent danger.”
According to the news release, on Jan. 22, Moeller was at the Woodland Park Wal-Mart on Highway 24 when several employees told him there was a man in the store suspected of shoplifting and that he wasn’t welcome there.
The man, later identified as Craig Bondo, left the store “without purchasing or stealing any items.” Before he left, Moeller told him not to go back, authorities said.
When Bondo drove off, Moeller asked another police officer, Andrew Leibbrand, to pull him over. The news release doesn’t state why Bondo made that request.
After Leibbrand pulled Bondo over, Moeller arrived at the scene. The officers discovered Bondo was driving a stolen car and decided to make an arrest, the release said.
When Moeller tried to open the driver’s side door, Bondo locked it and drove the car in reverse, striking Moeller on the left leg and leaving a visible injury.
“Moeller jumped out of the way after being struck, and the car continued back in a reverse arc. This put Officer Moeller in front of the stolen car near the left front fender,” the release states.
At the same time Moeller jumped away from the car, he drew his .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, the release said.
Bondo allegedly looked at Moeller and accelerated toward the officer, who told investigators he was in fear for his life and fired his gun at Bondo.
Moeller fired eight rapid shots into the vehicle. The first four shots were fired as the car was driving toward or next to Moeller, who hit Bondo three times, the release said.
“Although Officer Moeller continued to fire his weapon after the car had passed him, because none of those shots struck the driver, no decision needs to be made whether they were reasonable or not,” the release states.
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