Jan 2, 2013 11:40 PM by David Ortiviz

Chief says wounded officer fought to save life

Pueblo police are releasing more details about a New Year's Day shooting that left an officer wounded and a suspect dead. Police says it appears the suspect, Christopher Tavares was reaching for something when he was shot and killed by a Pueblo detective. Police also say the officer who was shot by Tavares was struck in the shoulder. He was wearing a bullet proof vest, but we're told the bullet entered underneath his armpit and came out through this shoulder.

The incident started near the corner of Craig and W. 9th around 3 a.m. on Jan. 1. Police say three suspects crashed in a car and ran. One of them fired shots at the cop inside his patrol car. Police say that's when the officer hit the gas pedal.
"The officer tried to hit the suspect who was shooting at him," said Police Chief Luiz Velez.

The officer crashed into a fence and even though he was wounded in the shoulder, he grabbed his gun and returned fire. "He's fighting for his life, but he is still fighting," said Chief Velez.

Tavares got away, but was eventually tracked down near the intersection of Highway 50 and N. Elizabeth on Pueblo's northside. A detective approached Tavares but says he wouldn't cooperate. "In fact the individual looked like he was reaching for something," said Chief Velez. The detective shot and killed him. Chief Velez says police found a .40 caliber semi automatic gun near the suspect's body.

"Certainly don't point a gun at a police officer, don't shoot at a police officer, the consequences of that can be grave," said Chief Velez.

In the Pueblo Police Department officers are armed with tasers, but Chief Velez says it's unrealistic to use them in situations like this. "If the suspect has a deadly weapon and he's using that against you, you better use lethal force against that individual," said Chief Velez.

The Critical Incident Team is investigating the shooting. Police have not released the names of the officers involved.

Pueblo police have confirmed the injured officer has been with the department since Oct. 2011. Before that he worked for the Canon City Police Department for 11 years.



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