A December shooting in which a Colorado Springs police officer shot a suspect shortly before the suspect shot and killed himself has been ruled justified, officials with the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.
Sgt. Jason Reeser, part of CSPD's Tactical Enforcement Unit during a standoff Dec. 23 in the 6900 block of Palace Drive, shot the suspect, Zillanz Falcon, as he was going to the second floor of his home, causing Falcon to fall down the stairs and fatally shoot himself in the head with a handgun he was carrying, officials said.
Police were first alerted Dec. 22, when a neighbor called and told them that Falcon had fired two shots at her house. According to officials, Falcon had caused property damage to the neighbor's home in the past, including breaking her windows and shooting out a floodlight they had pointed at his residence. The neighbor also had a protection order against Falcon.
Officers set up containment and made multiple efforts to contact Falcon, giving him several verbal commands in the process. During that time, police obtained arrest and search warrants for Falcon on suspicion of illegal discharge of a firearm into a residence, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and violation of a protection order.
After around 90 minutes of trying to negotiate with Falcon, police breached the main door of Falcon's home with an armored vehicle and deployed an unarmed surveillance drone which Falcon shot and disabled in response, officials said. He also fired at the officers outside his residence, according to officials.
Two hours later, police decided to remove Falcon's mother, who was hard of hearing and suffering among other infirmities and was on the second floor.
As police attempted to do so, Reeser was positioned near the breached front door. Reeser saw Falcon move to climb the stairs. Reeser knew officers were upstairs assisting Falcon's mother. He shot Falcon once, hitting the suspect in the thigh, causing him to either move down of his own accord or possibly fall down the stairs and fatally shoot himself in the head, officials said.
"Sergeant Reeser had an objectively reasonable belief that Mr. Falcon did in fact pose an imminent danger to multiple police officers including himself, to his elderly mother present in the home, to civilians in surrounding homes, and to civilians present in surrounding areas," the statement from the DA's office reads.
"A gunshot wound from one of Mr. Falcon’s approximately 50 unjustifiably fired rounds would pose a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death."