Mikaele Poloa already was on parole when he walked out of the El Paso County jail, freed after posting a $4,000 bond while facing felony charges for allegedly attempting to rape a woman at gunpoint, stealing a car and committing a carjacking while armed with a handgun.
In the weeks that followed his release, Poloa, 21, of Colorado Springs, went on to fire a shotgun at the face of a man in an apartment noise dispute, police records state. Then Poloa absconded altogether from parole supervision.
He's still on the run, and the Colorado Department of Corrections now says that Poloa shouldn't have been released in the first place. Officials have chalked up the mistake to a paperwork error.
“Public safety is our top priority, and this is unacceptable, which is why his case is a priority for our fugitive apprehension unit,” said Annie Skinner, a spokesperson for the Corrections Department, in a prepared statement. “Due to a failure of the division to file the parole complaint in the allotted time frames, the parole hold had to be lifted.”
She said the Corrections Department “takes this issue very seriously and is conducting a review of what caused the delay in the filing of the parole complaint to take any necessary action.”
The mistakes accompanying the parole supervision of Poloa occurred at a time when law enforcement officers and key elected officials have argued lenient criminal justice policies in Colorado have contributed to rising crime rates in the state. Those calling for a reversal in policies include Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen.
After his release from jail, Poloa aimed a shotgun and fired at the face of Andrew Herrera, 20, in front of Herrera’s girlfriend, according to an affidavit seeking a warrant for Poloa’s arrest on charges of attempted second-degree murder and being a previous offender in possession of a gun. Colorado Springs police Officer Rebecca Joines stated in the affidavit that the shooting occurred at 12:03 a.m. on April 18 in the Bonfoy Apartments, located in the 100 block of Bonfoy Avenue in Colorado Springs.
Herrera and his girlfriend had been knocking on the wall of their apartment, trying to get Poloa and his friends in the adjoining apartment to cut their loud noise, according to the police report. Poloa and two of his friends had gathered that night to celebrate the birthday of a friend who recently had been killed, police say.
Poloa, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, and an acquaintance of his, decided to confront Herrera, according to the police report. An acquaintance of Poloa’s had warned that video surveillance in the apartment complex would capture any confrontation, but Poloa said he had nothing to lose because he already faced up to 60 years on pending criminal charges, the police affidavit states.
Poloa then knocked on Herrera’s front door and when Herrera answered, Poloa fired the shotgun at Herrera, missing and striking the door frame instead, the report states.
Herrera, armed with a Glock handgun, fired three gunshots in return, which went through Herrera’s apartment wall, into the hallway, and into an apartment across the hall, but struck no one, police said.
The alleged shootout occurred after a string of alleged crimes by Poloa while on parole, as detailed in court records and police reports.
The Colorado Parole Board in March 2021 granted Poloa discretionary parole from a four-year prison sentence he was serving at the Bent County prison, releasing him from prison about two years before his mandatory release date. Poloa had been convicted of witness intimidation, menacing domestic violence and aggravated motor vehicle theft, all felonies.
Documents show he was sentenced to prison after he was convicted of threatening to shoot his girlfriend and run her over if she did not get in his car, of witness intimidation against his girlfriend and another woman, herself a sex assault victim in another suspect’s criminal case, and of stealing a vehicle. His parole packet assessment states that he would be at high risk of reoffending once released from prison. A judge placed him on probation when he was a juvenile, but Poloa had walked away from probation supervision, documents state.
Poloa told parole board members that he had grown up in a family that associated with the Crips gang but was ready to turn away from crime. He asked the parole board to release him early from prison so he could become a good example for his daughter. He admitted that drinking alcohol had caused problems for him in the past, but said he believed his drinking would be under control while on parole.
He added that although he had been convicted of threatening to kill his girlfriend, he did not have a firearm with him when he made that threat. Court documents show that police officers investigating that threat found a 9 mm handgun with two rounds in the magazine in the hotel room where he was staying.
His compliance with his parole supervision terms after his release from prison was poor from the start, documents show. He failed to adhere to required parole office visits, ditched substance use monitoring and missed appointments for substance use treatment.
A little over a month after Poloa’s parole release, a case work audit found that his parole officer, Anthony Riggins, needed to “actively try to locate offender” and address the numerous parole supervision violations Poloa had accrued without consequence.
Riggins issued an arrest warrant, and on July 3, Colorado Springs police arrested Poloa on that warrant and for two separate criminal cases. Documents show police charged Poloa with stealing a Honda sedan, which had $800 in cash in it, from a female acquaintance, and also charged him, in a separate incident, with attempted felonious sexual assault.
Police say the 27-year-old woman he tried to rape was leaving a friend’s house in the 2600 block of Grand Vista Circle in Colorado Springs on the morning of July 3, where she had been helping care for a child with autism. Poloa confronted her and threatened to kill her with a handgun he said he had in his back pocket unless she performed oral sex on him, the police report states.
He fled when she screamed for help , according to police. Police apprehended him later that night after chasing him by foot after they responded to an anonymous indecent exposure call. They found him nearby, clinging to the undercarriage of a garbage truck. The woman Poloa allegedly attempted to rape later picked him out of a police photo lineup, the police report states. Police said they found a wallet stolen from another woman’s parked car on Poloa when they arrested him.
While Poloa was incarcerated at the El Paso County jail on the attempted rape, car theft and parole violation charges, Colorado Springs police charged him in September of last year for a third criminal case, this one for an alleged armed carjacking that had occurred before his incarceration.
A 32-year-old man told police that Poloa walked up to his rented silver Volkswagen Jetta he was in at a Waffle House parking lot in the 700 block of West Fillmore Street and asked for a cigarette during the early morning hours of June 20, 2021.
When the man said he did not have a cigarette, Poloa lifted his shirt, displaying a black handgun in his waistband, and threatened to shoot him unless he let him take the car, according to a police report. Authorities said that when they later recovered the car, they found inside the car a yellow hoodie Poloa had been wearing with “Just Do It” in bold letters. Video surveillance at a nearby convenience store the night of the carjacking captured images of Poloa walking toward the Waffle House wearing the same hoodie 34 minutes before the carjacking, the police report states.
Documents show parole officials were alerted of the new criminal charges filed against Poloa during his parole supervision. Although Poloa’s parole officer had issued a warrant for Poloa’s arrest for parole violations, the parole officer eventually cancelled the warrant and issued a summons instead, requiring Poloa to appear later for a parole revocation hearing back to prison for violating his parole conditions, which required him to not engage in criminal activity.
On Nov. 19, 2021, parole officer Riggins released a parole hold that would have kept Poloa in jail and told Poloa that if he bonded out of the El Paso County jail on the pending criminal charges, he would have to report to the Colorado Springs parole office to renew his parole supervision. Riggins declined comment.
The hearing on whether to revoke Poloa’s parole and send him back to prison originally was scheduled for Jan. 26 of this year, while Poloa was still being held at the jail on pending criminal charges. That revocation hearing, though, was rescheduled to January 2023 to allow adjudication of the new criminal charges Poloa had accrued while on parole, records show.
On April 4 of this year, Poloa posted $4,000 in bond to secure his release from the jail. The jail notified parole officials that Poloa was bonding out, according to parole supervision records.
“It is our department’s practice to place holds and file parole complaints on those individuals who have violent charges pending,” said Skinner. “As such, they typically remain in custody pending disposition. Because time frames were missed in this case, he was issued a parole summons, which then allowed his release once he bonded on his charges.”
After Poloa bonded out from the jail, his mother pleaded with Poloa’s new parole officer, Garret Robinson, to put her son on electronic monitoring because he was not staying home at night when his parole supervision terms required him to do so.
Parole supervision records show that Robinson told her that his managers in the parole department likely would not approve of an electronic ankle monitoring device unless he could show Poloa was engaged in ongoing criminal activity. He said that he would give Poloa a verbal warning to stay home at night, and Robinson delivered that warning to Poloa that same night during a phone call.
Weeks later, a parole fugitive apprehension unit contacted the parole officer to alert him that Poloa was a suspect in the attempted murder at the Bonfoy Apartments and had fled parole supervision. Warrants have been issued for Poloa’s arrest on charges of attempted murder and being a previous offender in possession of a gun, along with the pending felony charges of attempted sexual assault, trespassing, motor vehicle theft and aggravated robbery.