Monday’s Grand County Sheriff’s deputy shooting one of only four in quarter century
Sky-Hi Daily News
This week’s shooting of a local man by a Sheriff’s deputy is a rare event in Grand County.
On Monday night, 23-year-old Christopher David Dalgarn (aka David Christopher North) of Granby was shot by Deputy Rochalle Rooks in a confrontation, following a high-speed chase that ended when the deputy rammed Dalgarn’s car. Dalgarn was shot in the neck, abdomen and a finger.
At last report, he was still in critical condition following surgery at St. Anthony’s Central Hospital.
Deputy Rooks was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting, which is standard law enforcement procedure in shooting cases.
The investigation into Monday’s incident has been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office. Investigators with the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Bureau of Investigation are also working the case.
Monday’s shooting was one of only four incidents over the past 25 years in which law enforcement officers in Grand County have used their firearms to shoot a suspect.
The last use of a gun by a Grand County Sheriff’s deputy occurred in May 2005 when a Hot Sulphur Springs man was fatally shot during a confrontation near Parshall Divide. An investigation by the District Attorney’s Office and Colorado Bureau of Investigation concluded the deputy’s use of deadly force was “reasonable and justified” after all available means to control the situation had been exhausted and the deputy was left “no other option.”
Five years prior to that incident, another occurred in Kremmling when a suicidal man was shot and killed by a Colorado State Patrol trooper. The only other recent incident involving the actual use of a gun was in 1983 when a Grand County Sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded a man during a struggle.
In discussing the use of firearms by law enforcement officers, Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson said his department’s policy and the training of his deputies is based upon state law.
Johnson specifically cited Colorado Revised Statute 18-1-704, which addresses the use of “deadly physical force” when a person “reasonably believes a lesser degree of force is inadequate,” and that he or another person is in “imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury.”
“This law is not exactly clear cut,” he said. “Nowhere in it does it speak specifically about the use of firearms. This law affords the right of self defense to all of us as citizens, not just police officers.”
In addition to standard law enforcement training to become officers, Johnson said his deputies undergo additional firearms proficiency twice a year.
The deputies also periodically receive training on various “levels of force” they can use in a variety of situations. During that training, they are taught techniques such as hand-to-hand fighting as well as the use of pepper spray, clubs, Tasers and firearms.
“You always wish that you could do more, but we’re constrained by time and money,” Johnson said.
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