DA: Colorado Springs police officer justified in fatally shooting man who shot at him

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs police officer was justified in fatally shooting a man who shot at him, according to the district attorney’s office.

The office announced the ruling Tuesday. The shooting was investigated by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting happened the morning of June 22 in the parking lot of a shopping center on Delta Drive. Investigators said the encounter was filmed by a citizen using a cell phone, and they evaluated this video as part of the investigation.

The incident began when police got a call about a man walking in the area, carrying an alcoholic beverage and a gun. When officer William Watson arrived, he saw that the man, 25-year-old Josiah Williams, in fact had a gun in his hand. Watson ordered Williams to put his weapon on the ground, but he refused, according to investigators. Williams pointed the gun at the officer several times, and at one point began to put it on the ground, then picked it up and pointed it at Watson, according to investigators.

At one point, Williams pointed the weapon into the air and pulled the trigger. The gun didn’t fire, and Watson took the opportunity to use his Taser.

While Watson was deploying his Taser, Williams performed a “tap-rack” maneuver on the gun, according to investigators. This is a method of either clearing a malfunction in a gun or ensuring a new round is loaded into the chamber and ready to be fired. When Watson saw this, he knew the gun was now loaded.

According to investigators, Williams fired one round at Watson. The officer then shot at Williams several times, hitting him once in the abdomen.

First responders found a Taser probe in Williams’ hip while treating him on the scene. They then took him to the hospital, where he died.

An autopsy confirmed Williams died from the gunshot wound. Investigators said he also had both alcohol and meth in his blood.

Watson was placed on routine administrative leave after the shooting, and has since returned to duty.

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