A Colorado Springs police officer was justified in fatally shooting a shoplifting suspect August 15, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Thursday. Steven James Young, 45, was killed after he ran at officers while carrying a pellet gun that appeared to be a firearm and ignored officers’ commands to get on the ground, a release from the DA’s Office said. Anthony Voltz, a nine-year veteran officer, fired his weapon because he feared “that he was about to be shot.” The pellet gun that Young pointed was “almost an exact replica of a firearm,” the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office previously said. The Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting in accordance with Colorado law, which requires that officer-involved shootings resulting in injury or death be reviewed by a neutral agency.
All involved officers were wearing cameras, but “every image was not clearly captured” because of the lack of lighting and the officers’ rapid movements. Young had amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system, and text messages exchanged by acquaintances reportedly indicated he did not want to be taken alive. Colorado law allows an officer to use deadly force “if he or she reasonably believes that it is necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the imminent use of deadly physical force,” the DA’s Office said. Young was wanted on suspicion of aggravated motor vehicle theft and multiple counts of vehicular eluding before the shoplifting report was made. He also was wanted on a fugitive from justice warrant from the Colorado Department of Corrections. Young had been in and out of prison since 2006. He was last sentenced in 2013 to six years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to escape from a felony conviction, court records show, and was on parole. [Source: The Gazette]