No indictment in Weld Co. fatal police shooting
By Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post
POSTED: 03/22/2010 10:47:48 AM MDT
UPDATED: 03/22/2010 02:06:19 PM MDT
Matthew Herrera (family photo | funeral notice)
A Weld County Grand Jury investigating the fatal shooting of a man by a Platteville police officer, who fired his service weapon “approximately” 12 times, did not issue an indictment in the case.
Matthew Lucas Herrera, 30, of Platteville, was fatally shot Jan. 27 by officer Jim Torrez, according to a media release from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.
The Weld County Coroner’s Office said Herrera died of “multiple” gunshot wounds and was likely hit by “10, or a portion of 10” bullets.
Deputy Coroner Chris Robillard said Herrera was hit multiple times, in various parts of his body from various angles, making it difficult to pin down exactly how many times he was shot.
Before the shooting, Platteville police had received information about a “suspicious vehicle,” including the vehicle license plate number. The plate was registered to Herrera, investigators said. Details on why his Chevrolet Camaro was considered suspicious were not released.
Another Platteville officer, Eli Rodriguez, had tried to pull over Herrera’s car at about 6:35 a.m. the day of the shooting and pursued it for two miles, but the driver didn’t stop, according to the district attorney’s office. Rodriguez ended his pursuit.
A short time later, at about 7 a.m., Torrez, out of uniform but in his marked patrol cruiser, arrived at Herrera’s home where he saw Herrera’s car pull into a “vacant” parking lot.
Torrez positioned his patrol car across the northern access to the lot to block Herrera’s car from leaving.
The release said Herrera drove his car in reverse, bumping into Torrez’s cruiser, before driving forward.
Torrez got out of his patrol car, drew his gun and ordered Herrera to get out of the car.
Instead, Herrera tried to drive off, but his tires were unable to gain traction on the icy lot surface and the Camaro tires spun out.
“Officer Torrez stated that he believed he was in danger of being hit by Herrera’s vehicle,” the release said.
“Officer Torrez fired approximately 11 rounds at Herrera while Herrera was in his vehicle,” the district attorney’s office said.
“Herrera got out of his car without showing his hands” and Torrez “fired at least one round that hit Herrera in the back and passed through a major blood vessel causing him to die from internal hemorrhaging.”
Herrera did not have a gun and no weapon was found in or near his car.
Platteville, with a population of about 2,400, has four patrol officers.
Gilbert Herrera said the day of the shooting that his son was hit six times in the barrage.
“As a result of the Grand Jury’s investigation, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office will not file criminal charges against Officer Torrez,” the release said. “Because no indictment was issued, confidentiality rules still apply to the Grand Jury’s discussions, findings and evidence review.”
Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/crime/ci_14731200#ixzz0j20UDxeg