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District Attorney and Cañon City Police declare Buckholz shooting justified

Dalton Lee Buckholz was shot and killed in a parking lot on the first week of May 2021, when "caught in the crossfire" of an officer involved shooting
Posted at 3:17 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 19:10:43-04

CAÑON CITY — In a press conference Friday afternoon, Cañon City Police Chief John Schick and the District Attorney told the public that they ruled the fatal shooting of Dalton Buckholz on May 1 as justified. We will be following up on this story tonight on News5.

You can watch the full press conference here:

On the night of the incident, two members of the Cañon City Police Department approached the driver of a 1999 Infiniti near the Quality Inn Motel along US Hwy 50 and Dozier Ave.

According to police, the approach came after officers tailed the car for suspicious activity.

Buckholz was in the driver's seat when he was fatally shot 4 times by officers. A 20-year-old passenger was also shot, but he survived the incident.

The officers were in plain clothes at the time of the incident. Chief Schick said the officers were on an undercover narcotic assignment.

An internal investigation determined the officers violated department policy as they were not wearing badges, insignia, or appropriate civilian attire. The officers will receive training and a formal reprimand as a result of these violations.

According to Police Chief Schick, the officers fired on Buckholz and the passenger because one of the officers thought the vehicle struck the other officer on the scene.

The Coroner ruled Buckholz's death a homicide, but the report did note that amphetamines, methamphetamine, and morphine were present in his system. At the press conference, police told the media that Buckholz's passenger had methamphetamine on his person.

The two officers were not injured and were placed on administrative leave following the shooting per department policy.

The Cañon City police chief confirmed the officers were not wearing body cameras as they were undercover at the time. This is in line with Colorado law on undercover investigations, where police officers are not required to wear body cameras.

Footage from a nearby hotel was reviewed as part of the investigation, but the footage was not released to the public.

The investigation into the shooting was carried out by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, who concluded their portion at the end of August. Under Colorado law, the local District Attorney's office determines whether to pursue charges.

The CBI collected the physical evidence on the scene. Cañon City officers collected evidence from the officers at the request of the CBI.

Since the incident, family and friends of Buckholz have hosted a series of protests. At this time the family has not responded to the results of the press conference. The District Attorney said she reached out to the family's attorney, but a date has not been set for a meeting with the family.
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