Red flag petition filed against officer in fatal shooting

National News

DENVER (AP) — A woman whose son was killed by Colorado State University police in 2017 is trying to have the guns of one of the officers involved confiscated under the state’s new red flag law, a move the sheriff calls a classic example of how the controversial law can be abused.

In her Jan. 9 petition for an extreme risk protection order, Susan Holmes said there was a credible risk of unlawful or reckless use of a firearm by Phillip Morris because he threatened and killed her son, 19-year-old Jeremy Holmes, and because she said he has shown ongoing violence and aggression.

Morris’ actions were investigated in the shooting and deemed justified by the district attorney, who noted that Morris tried to de-escalate the situation. A message left for his attorney was not returned Wednesday.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, is similar to those adopted in over a dozen other states and intended to allow family members or law enforcement to seek a court order to confiscate the weapons of people they believe could harm themselves or others. Holmes did not seek an emergency removal of the weapons so no action will be taken until after a judge considers it during a hearing on Thursday.

In a post on Facebook Wednesday, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith called Holmes’ petition, signed under oath and penalty of perjury, a fraud and said authorities were investigating what charges she could face. He said he could not elaborate on the case because of the investigation.

In the section of the form where Holmes was asked to describe her family or household relationship with Morris, she checked the box for having a child in common with him. Holmes told The Associated Press that the language of the law can be interpreted in different ways but declined to elaborate ahead of the court hearing.

Morris does not share a child with Holmes, said Dell Rae Ciaravola, a spokeswoman for Colorado State’s police department. She said he remains with the department and has been “consistently honorable and professional” since being hired in 2012.

Holmes said she supports amending the law to allow anyone to seek protection orders against police officers who have abused their power.

“I don’t have a vendetta. I have a desire for justice for everyone,” she said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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