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Shooting suspect has history of violence and alcohol abuse

Posted at 7:32 PM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 21:51:23-04

Court records show the suspect arrested for shooting a Colorado Springs Police officer Thursday morning has a history of violence and trouble with alcohol. Karrar Al Khammasi, 31, is facing charges of attempted First Degree Murder of a Police Officer, Felony Menacing and Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender.

He was due in court Friday morning for a hearing on a previous criminal charge, also felony Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender. However, he was unable to attend due to his hospitalization for injuries suffered during the shooting with the police.

Al Khammasi had bonded out of jail on that January gun possession case and the judge revoked his bond during the hearing. A follow-up is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Court records show that his run-ins with the law years earlier.  On September 24, of 2013, he was charged with drunk driving. That same night he reportedly showed up at the home of Mohanad Qanbar, an Islamic interpreter, and demanded money.

Qanbar told investigators in November that he met Al Khammasi a few months earlier through a mutual acquaintance in order to sell him a car. Qanbar later helped Al Khammasi with a financial transaction with his boss at an auto body repair shop.  Qanbar told officers that Al Khammasi, “came into a large amount of money and wanted to invest it.”  So, Qanbar served as a witness and interpreter for the $20,000 loan Al Khammasi made to his boss.

Qanbar went on to explain that the windfall had changed Al Khammasi and that he started drinking and using drugs. He began showing up late to work and lost his job. When he showed up on his doorstep, Al Khammasi blamed Qanbar for the DUI claiming that the car he sold him broke down leading to his arrest. He wanted money so that he could leave town.

Qanbar said that Al Khammasi was threatening him and his family, so he drove Al Khammasi away from their apartment. Al Khammasi returned later that night and Qanbar called the police. Al Khammasi continued making threats even in the presence of the responding officer. He was charged with harassment but the charges were later dismissed.

Five days after the confrontation, Qanbar’s car was lit on fire in the parking lot of his apartment complex. He suspected it was Al Khammasi and the police took a report. However, no one was ever charged. Qanbar received a restraining order against Al Khammasi in October of 2013.

He called the police again on November 5, 2013, to share a pair of voice messages where Al Khammasi threatened to kill him and family and demanded $25,000 cash. Al Khammasi was ultimately charged with extortion, menacing, intimidation and harassment. He pleaded guilty in February of 2014 to a felony charge of trespassing and was sentenced to 2 years probation.

His probation was revoked in November of 2014. Department of Corrections Records shows he spent 5 months in prison between December of 2015 and April of 2016 for a change of vandalism.

In June of 2017, he was ticketed for misdemeanor assault. He allegedly punched the victim in the face 3 times. The ticket indicated that alcohol was again involved.

Al Khammasi was sentenced in February to another year of probation plus 60 days in jail for the assault conviction. The Probation Department in Colorado Springs said he had been compliant with his terms and conditions of probation. However, they filed a complaint with the court to revoke probation based on new charges expected to be filed from the shooting.

In January, Al Khammasi was arrested again for a parole violation. He told the officers who responded to his room at the End of the Trail Motel that he had a gun. They found an Ultra-Lite .38 Special revolver on the nightstand. The case against Al Khammasi for possession of the weapon is still pending.

The affidavit of probable cause for his arrest Thursday in connection with the shooting the Officer Cem Duzel remains sealed. Al Khammasi reported called for an Uber to pick him up from the Angry Pirate Bar on East Platte Avenue. Bar patrons and employees did not wish to be interviewed. However, they indicated that Al Khammasi was not a regular customer.

A spokesperson for Uber told us their driver picked up a rider in that area just prior to the shooting. That driver reported that she ended the trip early because of the rider’s behavior. Shortly after he left the car, the driver heard gunfire and called 911.

Dave Britton, General Manager of Uber Colorado said in a statement, “Our thoughts are with Officer Duzel, his family, and the Colorado Springs Police Department. We stand ready to support the investigation and CSPD during this difficult time.”