A 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office review of a Durango police officer-involved shooting is about two to three weeks from completion, putting off any potential release of body-cam footage until that time.
According to the Durango Police Department, officers were dispatched to O’Reilly Auto Parts at 2475 Main Ave. around 4:30 a.m. July 1 after being alerted by a business alarm of a break-in.
As authorities surrounded the building, the suspect, identified as Jason Noble Snow, 34, of Pagosa Springs was told to put down a gun he was carrying, but instead he fired at an officer, said Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer.
The officer, Padraic Ingle, fired back, killing Snow, who was pronounced dead at the scene before medical personnel arrived.
The investigation into the Durango Police Department’s first officer-involved shooting since 2000 was looked into by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina said the investigation was presented to the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office earlier in the month for review. The 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is now conducting its own separate investigation and review.
District Attorney Christian Champagne said Tuesday his office is about two to three weeks from completing its review. He declined to comment further until a full letter with his findings is done.
Brammer said police body-cam footage of the incident cannot be made public until the District Attorney’s Office findings are finished. Once the review is complete, Brammer said the department will assess the best way to make the video public.
Brammer said it is unlikely DPD will put the video out “carte blanche” because of the violent nature of the incident and the fact both the officer’s and suspect’s family and friends live in the community.
“It is a violent, grotesque encounter where someone dies, and that’s not to be taken lightly,” Brammer said. “What I fear is, if we release this video just carte blanche ... then we’re going to create a lot of community harm.”
Instead, in order to maintain transparency, Brammer said a more preferred option would be for people who are interested in seeing the video to set up an appointment at the Durango police station to view it.
“I think that’s the best scenario,” Brammer said.
The Durango Herald filed an open records request for the body-cam footage but was denied, with Durango police citing an open investigation.
A new state law speeds up the time in which Colorado police departments must release footage for officer-involved shootings, but that does not take effect until 2023.
Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, said previously that under current laws the disclosure of footage is a criminal justice record subject to the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act.
“Records custodians can withhold such records, or release only portions, if they determine that disclosure would be ‘contrary to the public interest,’” he said. “In making that determination, they are supposed to conduct a balancing test of factors that includes the public interest served by disclosure, any privacy interests and the agency’s interest in conducting its investigation.”
Brammer maintains the facts of the incident are “cut and dry.”
“It’s clearly a self-defense situation,” he said.
After officers arrived at O’Reilly Auto Parts and set up a perimeter, Brammer said authorities spotted a white man in his 30s, later identified as Snow, in the back of the store trying to escape.
Snow then allegedly ran to the front of the store, where he encountered another officer. Police say that officer identified himself as law enforcement and Snow fired gunshots through the business’ glass door.
No officers were injured in the incident. Ingle has since returned to duty, Brammer said.
A woman who is suspected of aiding the burglary as the lookout and planned getaway driver, Paige Hiehle, 23, of Durango fled the scene but was located about a week later and arrested.
Hiehle pleaded guilty Sept. 4 to conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary of a building. She has a sentencing hearing scheduled for Oct. 30.