In the third fatal police shooting this year in Colorado Springs, officers shot and killed a man Saturday night when an hourslong standoff suddenly erupted into violence.
The standoff began around 5:30 p.m., shortly after officers arrived at an apartment in the 4200 block of Forest Hill Road. Neighbors had called police after hearing a loud argument among the residents of the apartment near Garden of the Gods Road and Centennial Boulevard.
Neighbors said a woman and an infant got out safely before the male resident barricaded himself in the apartment and refused to come out.
A little after 9 p.m., the sound of stun grenades were reportedly heard, followed by gunshots. Gazette news partner KKTV reported that the man inside the apartment fired at least one shot and that officers also fired their weapons.
The name of the man who was killed has not been released. No officers were hurt in the gunbattle.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the shooting, said a male suspect had died, but did not confirm that he had fired at officers. Shootings involving law enforcement officers are typically investigated by a neutral agency to avoid conflicts of interest.
On Sunday, neighbors, who had been unable to leave their homes while the standoff dragged on, gathered Sunday to watch as investigators went in and out of the taped off apartment building.
The neighbors, who declined to give their names, said they heard “at least 10 to 15 gunshots” Saturday night. A window in the apartment was broken with several holes where neighbors said bullets went through.
“It only lasted a few minutes,” said one woman. “It was terrible last night.”
Neighbors said the man lived in the apartment with his girlfriend and their baby. He had lived there at least three years, although none of them knew him except in passing, they said.
“You couldn’t ever really see his face, only because when he walked he kept his head down,” said the neighbor. “We would just say, ‘Hi’ ‘Bye,’ that kind of thing.”
A woman said she had often heard the man and woman arguing loudly.
“There was nothing like this before though,” she said. “It was more of an argument here and there.”
She didn’t recall the police ever having been called to the apartment before Saturday.
“It’s calm, cool and collected here,” said one neighbor. “Every so often you’ll hear a police car fly by for some reason but other than that, nothing.”
Of the two previous fatal police shootings this year, the first, in January, has been ruled justified by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Bill Gerald Akes, 48, was killed Jan. 12 after pulling a hatchet on officers investigating a report of a suspicious man in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an apartment near Motor City.
On April 24 , Jonathan Patzel, 29, was shot by an officer after allegedly attacking a woman he was staying with at the Arbor Pointe Apartments and threatening police with a weapon. He died the next day.
That shooting is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.