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District Attorney rules November 15 officer involved shooting justified

4th Judicial District Attorney
Posted at 2:17 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 17:37:23-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office ruled the November 15 shooting of Brian Reynoso by Colorado Springs Police Officer John Clay as justified.

The incident in question began when CSPD received information from a bail bondsman that Reynoso, who had 9 felony warrants for his arrest, was possibly armed with a handgun and in possession of a stolen vehicle on the 3800 block of Half Turn Road, according to police.

A CSPD officer was sent to the location of the vehicle, a black range rover, but found no one in or around the car.

Police say Officer John Clay was then sent to the location, where he came into contact with a woman who said she was Reynoso's girlfriend, and the girlfriend's mother. The two told the officers that Reynoso was armed with a handgun.

A community member then told police that they saw Reynoso walking through the Featherstone Apartments in a black shirt, black pants, and a black backpack. Police say a CSPD officer was able to see Reynoso, and Officer Clay moved to a position in Reynoso's path.

After walking from his car, Clay spotted Reynoso, drew his handgun, and confronted Reynoso, telling him to show his hands. According to police, Reynoso did not comply with the orders and began running through the apartment complex.

Clay began a pursuit of Reynoso, and police say he repeatedly told Reynoso to "put your hands up" and "show me your hands." Clay said that based on his training and experience, the way Reynoso was running indicated that he was likely armed, consistent with the earlier reports.

The chase led the two through the apartment complex, with Reynoso attempting to evade Clay. Upon a turn, Clay saw Reynoso fleeing towards a parked blue Camara, with a man next to the passenger side door of the car. It was at this point that Officer Clay said he saw the handgun in Reynoso's hand.

Police say Clay then saw Reynoso point the gun at the man standing on the passenger side of the car, which had its headlights on and was running.

Reynoso then got into the driver's side of the car, and Clay opened fire after saying out loud that Reynoso had a gun.

Officer Clay fired 18 rounds at the vehicle, which began moving after Reynoso got into it, before then slamming into a neighboring garage.

After the shooting, Clay was told by the man initially standing next to the Camaro that the man's wife was in the passenger seat. In an interview after the shooting Clay said he did not know there was anyone in the passenger seat. The woman was not shot but did suffer a minor head injury when the car hit the garage.

Clay then opened the driver's side door of the vehicle, took Reynoso out, and then placed him in handcuffs.

Medical treatment was provided immediately by officers on the scene for both Reynoso and the woman. Reynoso had a minor injury from the shooting to his upper left arm, after being struck by the copper jacket of one of the rounds Clay fired into the car. The doctor who later treated Reynoso said the wounding did not legally constitute a "serious bodily injury."

After the arrest, police searched the car and found a Hi-Point .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, and the owner of the car said he did not own any guns and that any gun in the car would have been put there by Reynoso.

Witnesses on the scene said they saw Reynoso running through the parking lot, holding a gun, and being chased by Clay. The two witnesses also saw Reynoso get into the car that Clay then fired at.

Reynoso was taken into custody on his outstanding warrants and further charged with 2nd-degree kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated motor vehicle, 2 counts of menacing, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, and assault in the 3rd degree.

The 4th Judicial District said that after a thorough review of the incident, including body camera footage review, they found the use of deadly physical force justified.

The ruling was made based on the fact that Reynoso "posed an immediate threat to officer Clay and others in the immediate vicinity."

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