Dec 17, 2012 6:57 PM by Lacey Steele

Victim's family and police speak out about officer-involved shooting

We told you this weekend about District Attorney Bill Thiebaut saying an officer involved shooting in Pueblo in August was justified.

We talked to the family of the man killed and Pueblo Police.

Police say Edward Valdez III was shooting out windows when they found him on his bike.

"The individual pulled what turned out to be a BB gun," said Chief Luis Velez. "Fired on the officer at least twice."

Once he shot at Officer Brian Laut, Laut fired back, killing Valdez.

The officer didn't know Valdez had a BB Gun, which according to evidence resembled a handgun.

The family doesn't believe the officer's actions are justified.

"I don't understand why the officer was in such a hurry to go after him," said Edward Valdez Sr., the grandfather of Edward Valdez III. "All he had to do was get there and follow him home. This was a Class 4 misdemeanor I think is what it's considered... The police officer at that time went down and told him to stay down, and I guess he was disoriented."

The family says there's no way to know if Valdez fired first.

"What I see and what I hear is all I can go by," said Valdez, Sr. "My grandson's not here to tell his side of the story."

Witnesses and evidence led the District Attorney to say the actions were justified.

"This officer did everything that I would have expected him to do, and I would expect from any other police officer given similar circumstances," said Chief Velez.

They say police officers have nanoseconds to think of what to do.

"Where an officer has to digest the information that an individual is pulling a weapon, an individual is actually shooting at him," said Chief Velez.

For the family, they say there's still grief and questions.

"My oldest grandson," said Valdez, Sr. "The first, and I'll never have him again to carry out our family because he was the third, I was the first."

District Attorney Bill Thiebaut says the officer reasonably believed he was in danger.

Thiebaut added in his analysis of the investigation that his decision didn't mean the Police Department can't take administrative action against Officer Laut, but Chief Velez says that will not happen since he believes the actions were justified.


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