Local authorities release additional details in last week’s fatal shooting
November 13, 2018
Local investigators are still reviewing a fatal shooting incident that occurred last week in Grand County while cautioning that any final legal determinations could be months away.
Centennial resident Ernest "Ernie" Ackerly, 43, was shot and killed Nov. 5 by one of his hunting partners shortly after 7 a.m. as the two men prepared to go hunting in northeastern Grand County. According to officials from the Grand County Sheriff's Office, Ackerly and another man, whose name has not been released, were preparing to head into the nearby forest to hunt when the shooting occurred.
"They were in the parking lot preparing to go hunting," explained Lt. Dan Mayer, spokesman for the Grand County Sheriff's Office. "One man was loading his rifle. The rifle discharged and the bullet struck the other man."
Mayer noted that the two individuals involved in the shooting, Ackerly and the shooter, were "long-time friends" and hunting partners. According to Mayer, one sheriff's deputy arrived on scene within 10 minutes of an emergency call going out and a second arrived moments later. Grand County EMS also arrived on scene shortly after the emergency call was made. Ackerly, a married father of five children, was transported to Middle Park Health-Granby where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators from the sheriff's department are handling the investigation into the shooting death, which has not been officially ruled either accidental or intentional as of Tuesday evening. The Grand County Coroner's Office is also conducting an investigation into the incident to determine Ackerly's official manner of death, though no determination has yet been made.
Due to the hunting-related nature of the incident, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is also involved in the ongoing investigation and is considered to be a cooperating agency. Mayer said a firearms forensics team from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation would be analyzing the firearm that was involved in the shooting.
There were multiple witnesses to the shooting incident, which occurred at the far end of Grand County Road 41 north of Granby. According to Mayer four other individuals, who were not part of Ackerly's hunting party, were in the parking lot at the end of CR 41 when the shooting occurred. Additionally two other individuals, who were part of Ackerly's hunting party, arrived at the scene moments after the shooting occurred.
Mayer said the entire incident would be reviewed by the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in the future to determine whether or not any charges will be brought against the shooter. Mayer added that those final determinations could potentially be months away.
"We are doing a very thorough investigation," Mayer said. "We don't want to rush through this. We want to make sure we do the right thing on this."