No criminal charges for Summit County sheriff’s deputy, Dillon officer who shot and killed Charlie Foster, report says
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the law firm representing Charlie Foster’s family. This is a developing story that will be updated as more information is released.
The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is declining to file criminal charges against the law enforcement officers who shot and killed 18-year-old Charlie Foster last month in Summit Cove.
District Attorney Heidi McCollum said Dillon Police Department officer Allen Jambor and Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputy Vincent Moquin were justified in their use of deadly force in the July 9 shooting in the residential neighborhood of unincorporated Summit County, according to a news release issued Thursday, Aug. 31.
An image taken from dash camera footage that day shows Foster pointing what was later determined to be an authentic BB gun replica of a semi-automatic pistol in Moquin’s direction, according to the release.
“Mr. Foster had repeatedly failed to comply with the commands of both Officer Jambor and Deputy Moquin to put down the gun,” McCollum wrote. “Mr. Foster ultimately raised his gun to a position which could only have been interpreted to any reasonable person that he was intending on using deadly force against the officer and deputy.”
Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, the civil rights firm representing the Foster family, said that family members of the recent Summit High School graduate continue to “mourn the loss of their beautiful son,” according to a statement issued Thursday.
“Charlie was experiencing a mental health crisis and he needed help,” Rathod Mohamedbhai said in the release. “Unfortunately, he was unable to receive the professional help that he needed, despite his family’s efforts to get him that help.”
Police were responding to a 911 call Summit County dispatch received around 7:22 a.m. from a resident of the 800 block of Summit Drive in Dillon, who described a man with a gun pointed at the ground at his front door saying this was “his house,” McCollum wrote in the release.
Jambor and Moquin arrived at the scene at 7:29 a.m. and gave commands for Foster to put down the weapon and walk slowly toward the officers who had him at gunpoint, McCollum said. Foster initially complied and dropped the gun. After approximately a minute and a half, Foster stopped following the officers’ commands and picked the gun back up, the release states.
Around 7:38 a.m., while continuing to ignore commands, Foster raised the gun with both hands, arms extended at shoulder height and pointed the weapon at Moquin, leading Moquin and Jambor to shoot, according to the news release.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office System-wide Mental Assessment Response Team had responded several times the day before the shooting for concerns from Foster’s family members, who reported Foster having “anxiety issues and delusions,” McCollum stated.
But the SMART responders were off-duty in the early morning hours of July 9, when a family member requested them to respond, so a sergeant from the Sheriff’s Office responded instead, the release states. Foster refused to go to the hospital, and it was determined he was not a danger to himself or others at several points on July 8 and July 9, McCollum wrote.
Under Colorado law, a peace officer is justified in using deadly force “if the officer has objectively reasonable grounds to believe that the officer or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or receiving seriously bodily injury,” the release states.
Officers attempted to use binoculars to identify the type of weapon Foster was holding. Foster told Jambor that the weapon was not loaded, but the officer was not able to verify this, according to the news release. Moquin told investigators that he was concerned for his own safety, and both Moquin and Jambor said they feared for the safety of others, the release states.
“Both Officer Jambor’s and Deputy Moquin’s actions were a justifiable self-defense and a justifiable defense of others,” McCollum wrote. “In light of this determination, the Office of the District Attorney hereby declines to file any criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Charlie Foster.”
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