PUEBLO – A video captured by a News 5 viewer has brought in thousands of views and hundreds of social media comments from the Steel City community.
On Sunday, the viewer caught on video Pueblo Police arresting carjacking suspect Brian Purcella on the city’s East Side. The incident has some people questioning the actions police took to take Purcella down.
The video shows Purcella running through a neighborhood. Police officers then grab him, pin him to the ground, and one officer punches Purcella a few times.
Some social media comments are applauding the efforts of Pueblo Police while others are calling it horrible and reckless behavior.
Sergeant Franklyn Ortega of the Pueblo Police Department said, “The thing that you have to realize is at one time this was an armed suspect with a firearm that had just carjacked somebody.”
Sergeant Ortega said officers saw the stolen car on Sunday and tried to get Purcella to stop, but a chase began with Purcella eventually running from the car along with two juveniles.
“When the suspect driver left the vehicle he had a handgun in his hand and officers arrested him.”
Court documents show that while trying to arrest Purcella, Officer Clay Klipfel believed he still had a handgun. Thinking he was trying to reach for it the officer delivered “closed fist strikes to Brian’s head and upper body while giving him loud verbal commands to stop resisting…”
News 5 asked Sergeant Ortega if this action was appropriate, but he said it wasn’t for him to say.
“There’s a review of all of these actions and what’s happened, and what didn’t happen, and why it should’ve happened, and why it should not happen.”
Part of that review is looking at policies that may need to be updated, tactics, and where the department can improve.
Sergeant Ortega said Purcella is currently at the Pueblo County Jail. A juvenile suspect is also behind bars. The third suspect is not facing any charges at this time.
He said this incident is still under investigation. None of the officers involved are on administrative leave.