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Family of murdered father pleads for justice

Campbell presser Medium.jpeg
Posted at 2:19 PM, Jun 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-09 18:44:00-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The family of a Colorado Springs man who was killed in an apparent murder-suicide shooting last Friday is questioning why it took dispatchers and police officers so long to help them in a time of need.

Qualin Campbell, 31, died in the shooting. The Colorado Springs Police Department said Wednesday his death is being investigated as a homicide. David Karels, 44, also died and authorities are investigating his death as a suicide.

Civil Rights Attorney Harry Daniels held a news conference outside of the CSPD headquarters building Thursday with Campbell's widow Tali'Ja and his mother Annette.

Tali'Ja told reporters that Qualin was at work Friday afternoon when he texted her a photo of an unknown man.

"Following the picture were the words 911 please send help," she recalled.

So, Tali'Ja called 911 and reported that her husband was being held hostage.

"I gave them the exact address because he was able to provide me the location, I gave them the description of the man because I can clearly see it in the picture," she said.

Campbell grew frustrated with the lack of urgency that she sensed on the other end of the line. So, she drove 40 minutes from her home in unincorporated El Paso County to the location Qualin had provided.

She spotted his car in the parking lot between Taco Bell and Wendy's on South Nevada Ave. She immediately jumped out and ran to him.

"What I could see through the windshield was that he was slumped over, so I fell to my knees and I started screaming," Campbell recalled, choking back tears.

She said there were no emergency vehicles when she arrived. The man from the photo, later identified as Karels, was seated in the passenger seat with a gun in his lap. Campbell said others were afraid to help because they could see the gun. So, she opened the driver to check on Qualin.

"I put my fingers on his neck, I couldn't feel anything. I put my fingers on his wrist I still couldn't feel anything," Campbell recalled.

"So, my uncle was the only one that was big enough to help pull him out of the car in a pool of blood; it was me that had to try to perform CPR on my husband in a pool of blood."

Daniels voiced the frustration Campbell felt at the lack of a police response.

“No one should call law enforcement, in a hostage situation, and have it take over a damn hour to respond,” Daniels said.

“Make no mistake about it, they did not respond to her call for help for a hostage. They responded to after a shots been fired call.”

Daniels said they filed an open records request with the CSPD on Wednesday requesting copies of audio recordings from Tali'Ja's 911 calls.

"We want to know how many officers was available, how many officers was working that day, what calls took precedent," Daniels said.

He also noted that President Joe Biden had just visited Colorado Springs the day before to give the commencement address at the Air Force Academy.

"I'm sure they had a massive response to make sure he was protected, which I understand, but Qualin's life mattered also," Daniels said.

Daniels is working with local Civil Rights Attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter representing the family. He said they plan to seek every legal redress to get justice for the family.

"If that means a lawsuit invoking the Department of Justice other outside agencies to do an investigation because currently, the Colorado Springs Police Department is investigating themselves, I don't trust folks that investigate themselves."

Daniels clarified no one in Campbell's family knew Karels.

"To my understanding, he was a transient that lived here for 7 years from Denver," Daniels said.

It's unclear where the gun came from or how Karels got into Campbell's car.

Qualin and Tali'Ja moved to Colorado from Georgia last July. They have two daughters ages 4 and 14.

Campbell said her husband was a selfless man who didn't bother anybody. His 4-year-old daughter would jump in his arms every time he returned home from work as if she hadn’t seen him in days.

Campbell said she was traumatized by everything that happened last week.

"I shouldn’t have had to find him. It was their job to come and save him. Why an entire hour," she asked.

In a statement from the Colorado Springs Police Department, Community Relations Sergeant Jason Newton said:

"The loss of Qualin Campbell is a tragedy. Our condolences go out to Mr. Campbell’s family, who we know are suffering greatly. Our top priority is to provide them with answers. We are aware there is information circulating about this case, and we understand the concerns and questions that arise as a result. We will continue to gather all relevant details about Mr. Campbell's death and ensure the accuracy of our findings. While we recognize that many members of the community are eager for immediate information, it is our duty to provide the victim’s family with support and share the details of what we have learned with them before making any public announcement. We appreciate your patience and understanding."

Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade also released this statement:

"The loss of Qualin Campbell is a devastating tragedy for our community. We hold his family in our prayers during this unimaginably difficult time. I also recognize that there are questions and concerns surrounding the situation that resulted in Qualin’s death. I ran for mayor to ensure that we have an open and transparent government focused on the public safety of Colorado Springs residents and for that reason, it is critical that the Colorado Springs Police Department take the proper time to fully investigate this homicide to provide accurate answers to Qualin’s family and the public. We must not forget that a loved member of our community was murdered and we all take very seriously the responsibility to bring justice to him and his family."
Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade


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