COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado law enforcement community is in mourning after Colorado State Parole Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval died from injuries sustained in a hit-and-run crash Thursday afternoon in Colorado Springs.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, at around 3:45 p.m. three Colorado state parole officers were attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect, who was in his car. The suspect hit two of the parole officers with his car, and left the scene.
Police say both parole officers were taken to the hospital, where Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval was pronounced dead Thursday evening. The Colorado Department of Corrections says that the second parole officer was released from the hospital and is recovering.
Local law enforcement escorted Officer Guerin Sandoval's body in a procession from Memorial Hospital to the El Paso County Coroner's Office late Thursday.
Officer Guerin Sandoval was a member of the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office from 2007-2019. She was also awarded the 2018 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The sheriff's office released the following statement after her passing:
Our hearts are broken from news of tragic death of Parole Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval. Sending condolences to her family, our partners at parole & our brothers/sisters in blue mourning this tragic loss. Our prayers also go out to 2nd officer injured in incident.
Other agencies are remembering the life of Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval. The Colorado Springs Police Department released the following statement:
Today, we are mourning with the family of Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval and our brothers and sisters from the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole. Although Parole Officers have a different role in keeping our community safe, they are the same sworn officers as those you see wearing a Colorado Springs Police Department uniform. They take an oath, just as we do, to protect and serve our community. Losing an officer is felt throughout our entire community and we appreciate the support they have shown. All of CSPD will continue to support the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole, the involved officers, and their families throughout this difficult time.
Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade released the following statement:
Today our community is in shock. Our hearts and prayers are first and foremost with the family and friends of Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval, the entire Colorado Department of Corrections family, as well as with the members of our law enforcement community. We stand with law enforcement officers across the state and nation during this time of loss. This event reminds us of the dangerous complexity of the work of our law enforcement officers face. It also underscores the need for us as a community to support the women and men sworn to keep our community safe. The weight of the badge is indeed heavy. In the coming days, I urge our community to respect the wishes of the affected families, and as the investigation unfolds, to respect the process. I also urge our community to support one another during this difficult time. And I need you to Support Blue.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department also released a statement honoring Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval:
Thank you for your service to our community and to our state. Our hearts ache for you, your family, friends, and law enforcement family.
In response to the news Colorado Governor Jared Polis ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor Officer Guerin on the day of the funeral.
“My heart is with all those affected by this horrible act of violence that occurred in Colorado Springs yesterday. I send my deepest condolences to Christine’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time,” said Governor Polis. “I am grateful to all our community parole officers, law enforcement, and first responders who put their lives on the line to keep Coloradans safe and better our communities."
The driver who allegedly hit the two parole officers is in custody following a BLUE Alert issued early Thursday evening as the search for 41-year-old Justin Andrew Kula got underway.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, they are seeking an arrest warrant for Kula. Below are the charges he could be facing:
- leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death
- third-degree assault on a peace officer
The BLUE Alert Program is a cooperative effort among local law enforcement agencies regarding the imminent danger posed by a suspect(s) who has killed or seriously injured a peace officer, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
To learn more about the BLUE Alert Program, visit the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Website.
Joe Roybal, the El Paso County Sheriff, released this statement following the death of the Colorado state parole officer's death:
With a heavy heart, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office joins all of Colorado in mourning the fallen Colorado Division of Adult Parole Officer's tragic, senseless death. Our prayers are with the Officer’s family and with the second Officer who was injured during the incident, as well.
Members of law enforcement bravely run toward the danger and make unbelievable sacrifices so we can live in a safer world. As a law enforcement family, we mourn this loss and offer our prayers and unconditional support as they navigate through this unthinkable situation.
The Southern Colorado Law Enforcement Foundation accepts donations for "officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty and [for] their families in the case of a line of duty death."
Donations can be made through the non-profit's website or over the phone at 719-634-0058. Donations can also be made through this GoFundMe campaign that was created by an employee of the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office.
This is a developing story. News5 will continue to update this article as more information becomes available.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.