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Colo. sheriff’s K-9 shot, killed by suspect fleeing police

“We’ve always known Graffit was brave; today he proved a hero. RIP Good Boy,” the sheriff’s office tweeted

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Photo/ Jeffco Sheriff Twitter

By Jacob Factor
The Denver Post

DENVER — Colorado School of Mines campus was put on lockdown for several hours Monday while several police agencies searched for a man who allegedly shot and killed a Jefferson County K-9 while running away from officers.

The man was apprehended just before 5 a.m., and the Colorado School of Mines lockdown was lifted and the campus is scheduled to reopen at noon.

Just after midnight Monday, Golden police officers and Colorado School of Mines police officers attempted to contact a man slumped over the steering wheel in a vehicle near 19th Street and Elm Street, Colorado School of Mines Police Chief Dustin Olson said in a news conference Monday morning.

As officers attempted to talk to him, the man woke up and drove away from officers “at a slow rate of speed,” swerving into traffic. The car then came to a stop and officers saw the man slumped over the wheel again, and when he woke up, he began ramming officers’ vehicles trying to escape, Olson said.

Officers were able to break the glass window and put the vehicle in park, Golden Police spokesperson Ben Salentine said, and while they were trying to remove the man from the car, a struggle ensued and the man freed himself. He ran eastbound on 19th Street toward campus and pointed a handgun at the following officers, then ran into a wooded area.

A search ensued, which is when the Colorado School of Mines went on lockdown and a JeffCo alert went out to residents in the area.

A Jefferson County Sheriff K-9 unit responded to assist the search, Sheriff Reggie Marinelli said, and when the K-9 found the man, the deputy gave the order for the K-9 to apprehend the man.

He then fired shots at the K-9 and killed him, Marinelli said.

A deputy did fire back at the man, but Salentine did not disclose any details about that gunfire exchange when asked, directing any questions about the police shooting aspect of the incident to the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Critical Incident Response Team.

https://twitter.com/jeffcosheriffco/status/1625158696715026434/photo/1

Marinelli at the news conference identified the K-9 as Graffit, who had been working with the sheriff’s office since 2015 as a narcotics and patrol services dog.

Jefferson County’s regional SWAT team then arrived at the search to assist, and just before 5 a.m., the man came out of hiding and surrendered to perimeter officers. He was in possession of a holster without a gun, Salentine said, and the gun was later recovered nearby.

The man was taken to a hospital for injuries Salentine did not describe, but was treated and released. He is in custody.

The Colorado School of Mines Police Department is in charge of the investigation into the incident as a whole.

The shelter in place at Mines campus was lifted about 6 a.m., and campus is set to reopen at noon, though Olson said the closure could be extended if needed.

Several roads in the area are also closed while police investigate.

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