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District Attorney's Office determines Sept. 2021 police shooting was justified

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Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 15:46:41-04

PEYTON, CO. — After a thorough review of facts and evidence, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has determined the use of deadly physical force by El Paso County Sheriff Deputies Ryan Gonzales, Andrew Peery, and David Fisher was justified under the law of the State of Colorado.

The police shooting occurred on Sept. 1, 2021, in unincorporated El Paso County when a suicidal check the welfare call came in.

The caller stated her step-son, Connor McDaniel, was suicidal and was in the Monument or Colorado Springs area.

McDaniel's step-mother told police he was in possession of firearms and had sent goodbye emails to family members and sent his location to family members. All the information was passed on to law enforcement.

EPSO deputies located McDaniel in the 17000 block of Gollihar Court, in Peyton, Colorado where he maintained high ground over deputies.

While deputies were in the area, McDaniel didn't let them get close to him and had a superior view of the area and any approach by law enforcement.

Deputies say the landscape made communication difficult and law enforcement's ability to use less lethal options was impacted.

Once on the scene, deputies heard a gunshot and located McDaniel on a hill above them armed with a handgun.

EPSO Crisis Negotiators were on the scene as part of the initial law enforcement response.

The Crisis Negotiators made verbal contact with McDaniel on and off for several hours.

During negotiations with McDaniel, deputies saw signs of alcohol use and he confirmed he had been drinking.

McDaniel repeatedly said he wanted to kill himself and that he didn't want anyone else to get hurt but said if deputies came closer, they would get shot.

Deputies and crisis negotiators attempted to gain McDaniel's cooperation by providing him with cigarettes and a cell phone for communication with law enforcement, family members, and a civilian mental health professional.

Requests for McDaniel to drop his handgun were repeatedly ignored.

During interaction with law enforcement, McDaniel was firing his handgun multiple times in different directions.

Evidence revealed McDaniel fired at least 23 rounds during the entire incident.

Deputies said they had safety concerns for nearby homes, citizens and themselves due to McDaniel's behavior.

Deputy Gonzales was positioned on a roadway below McDaniel and saw him aiming his firearm at deputies, including himself.

McDaniel proceeded to fire three to four shots towards deputies. Deputy Gonzales described these shots as targeted and well-aimed.

Evidence showed a bullet impact mark on McDaniel's vehicle that was directly in line with Deputy Gonzales. Once being fired upon, Deputy Gonzales returned fire.

Following three and a half hours of negotiations, police say McDaniel's behavior was escalating in severity which was increasing the risk to those on the scene.

Deputies continued to resolve the incident peacefully.

McDaniel eventually walked down the backside of the hill where Deputies David Fisher and Deputy Andrew Peery were.

Deputies could still see McDaniel's handgun and saw him move the gun across his chest while looking at deputies in a manner that deputies believed they were in immediate danger.

As a result, Deputy Peery discharged his duty-issued rifle twice and Deputy Fisher discharged his duty-issued handgun once.

McDaniel was struck by multiple shots and fell to the ground.

Deputies immediately approached McDaniel and addressed him verbally to no avail. Deputies proceeded to deploy a 40mm less-lethal impact round and didn't see any movement.

A medical assessment was conducted to check for a pulse but none was found.

Body Worn Cameras recorded the entire interaction with McDaniel, which provided an accurate assessment of the incident.

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