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Officer-involved shooting is fifth of the year in Pueblo

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 20:33:55-04

PUEBLO, Colorado — Balloons, flowers, and candles decorate the fence outside of the home where Kevin Pulido, 43, lived and grew up. He died here Tuesday evening after investigators say he pointed a gun at Pueblo police officers.

"We know that the male pointed the gun at one of the officers and that a total of three officers were on scene at that point in time and all three of them shot at him," explained Captain Kenny Rider.

He said the officers were responding to a call from a neighbor who told dispatchers that Pulido came to their door asking if they'd seen the police.

"And they said no, what are you talking about," Rider said. "And he said, well, I know they're looking for me so I'm looking for them."

Rider said that the neighbor saw Pulido bring a handgun out of his waistband. That neighbor called 911 and officers responded a few minutes later.

Rider said a female officer arrived on the scene first and Pulido pointed the gun at her. She was in her patrol vehicle and did not engage with Pulido. Additional officers soon arrived and Pulido began walking toward them. When he pointed the gun in their direction, the three officers fired their weapons.

"Ironically, he wasn't wanted at the time. He has an extensive criminal history. So, I don't really know what his motivation was," Rider said.

Robert Donovan is a member of a newly formed group called Defund Pueblo PD. He spoke at the Juneteenth Rally on Friday explaining that their mission is not to completely disband the police, but rather to repurpose the department's budget in a way that prioritizes mental health and substance abuse treatment.

"Details have emerged indicating Kevin was asking about the police while wielding a gun," Donovan said reading from a prepared statement in response to the shooting. "This is often the tactic of a person looking to commit suicide by police."

His group wants the police department to release the body-worn camera video recordings of the shooting. If it turns out that Pulido was suffering from a mental health crisis, then Donovan said more should have been done to de-escalate the situation.

"It is a disheartening reality that "suicide by cop" is a cultural phenomenon and speaks to our public's understanding of police use of excessive and deadly force - to the extent that it can be counted on in a suicide plan," he said continuing to read from the statements.

This shooting is the fifth officer or deputy-involved shooting to happen in the City of Pueblo this year. Three of the other shootings involved officers from the Pueblo Police Department. While the fourth happened in the city, it was a Pueblo County Sheriff's Deputy who shot and killed car-jacking suspect Jesse Cedillo on March 14 following a police chase.

The shooting is also the first such incident to occur since Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a new Law Enforcement Integrity Act into law on Friday.

When asked about the new law as it relates to the conduct of the officers, Captain Rider explained there is a new restriction on when officers can use deadly force against an armed individual who is fleeing the police. However, that scenario does not apply to this shooting.

"We're talking about a direct threat against the officers, and so, I don't think the bill would have any bearing on this situation," Rider said.

He went on to explain that the Pueblo Police Department already complies with many of the new mandates in the law including the use of officer-worn body cameras and an internal ban on the use of carotid artery holds to subdue violent suspects.

"I'm proud to say that the Pueblo Police Department has very up-to-date policies and procedures," Rider said. "And so, I'm very confident that we're probably very close already to complying with the bill."

Jean Ray, chair of the Pueblo Human Relations Commission said that Police Chief Troy Davenport has asked to speak with her organization and their next monthly meeting on July 1.