COLORADO SPRINGS – El Paso County prosecutors have chosen to not file charges in connection to the officer-involved shooting that left El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy Micah Flick and a suspect dead.
Prosecutors said the man suspected of killing Flick, Manuel Zetina, fired the shots that killed Flick, injured bystander Thomas Villanueva, El Paso County Detective Scott Stone and CSPD Detective Marcus Yanez.
Prosecutors said no law enforcement officers fired a shot prior to the shootings of Stone, Flick, Villanueva and Yanez.
The report said members of the multi-agency auto theft task force watched 19-year-old Manuel Zetina leading up to the shooting in the parking lot of the Murray Hill Apartments on Feb. 5, 2018.
El Paso Sheriff’s Detective Termaine White told prosecutors he watched Zetina get out of a stolen vehicle and sit on a stoop outside of one of the apartment buildings. At that time, White told members of the team it was a good time to make an arrest, an order verified by a CSPD officer.
While those orders were given, prosecutors said Zetina walked into one of the buildings and walked back out, this time with his right hand in his jacket pocket.
White said he was concerned that Zetina could be holding a gun and tried to tell El Paso County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Boggs, but Boggs was no longer on his phone and did not receive the warning.
Detective Scott Stone told prosecutors he and Flick moved west across the parking lot toward Zetina while Zetina moved east. Stone said Zetina brushed against him and he told prosecutors he felt Zetina move his arm up in his pocket. Stone said he put Zetina in a bear hug and yelled “police.”
The report said Zetina shot Stone while they struggled, causing Stone to lose his grip and fall to the ground. Multiple officers who responded to the scene said they saw Flick and Zetina wrestling on the ground and then reported seeing Flick motionless.
Prosecutors said Zetina began to spray the parking lot with gunfire after they said he shot Flick and Stone. Investigators said that was when he hit Thomas Villanueva, an innocent bystander who was near the scene. Investigators said they found Villanueva’s DNA on a bullet that they said was fired from Zetina’s gun, proving Zetina fired the shot that left Villanueva paralyzed from the waist down.
The report also said Villanueva was not initially visible to members of the task force when they made the call to try to arrest Zetina.
Colorado Springs Police Detective Marcus Yanez said he approached the scene from the west when he heard gunshots and saw Flick wrestling with Zetina on the ground. He reported hearing three gunshots before he was shot in the groin by Zetina.
Prosecutors said Yanez returned fire, firing four or five shots, hitting Zetina in the back. It’s not clear if Yanez fired all of the shots that killed Zetina.
Prosecutors said Zetina was shot a total of three times, once to the chest, once in the back and a graze wound on his left arm. The investigation showed there were no exit wounds. Investigators said the condition of the bullets prevented them from being matched to particular guns, but all bullets belonged to either the Colorado Springs Police Department or the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Prosecutors said Flick was shot through his throat and exited his back. The report read: “Based on the angle of the shot, the close proximity of the suspect to Detective Flick, and because no officer had fired his weapon prior to Flick going down, along with the fact that the injury was a through and through shot and the DNA analysis of the blood found on Zetina‘s gun was that of Micah Flick’s, it has been determined that the fatal shot was fired by Manuel Zetina.”
Investigators ruled officers were justified to use lethal force against Zetina.
The report cites statements from law enforcement officers who were at the scene at the time of the shooting. No body cameras were worn by any officer in the operation.
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