A man who was injured in a shootout with Larimer County deputies during a speeding stop last month has been criminally charged.
Eighth Judicial District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin announced his decision to file charges against the man Thursday, at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by the district's Critical Incident Response Team. McLaughlin said the investigation also determined the two deputies who shot the man acted within Colorado law.
CIRT investigators reviewed body camera footage from the deputies involved, footage from two dashboard camera from two witnesses driving by during the shooting, and interviewed the deputies, witnesses and man who was shot, McLaughlin said in his decision letter. The video footage corroborated the witnesses' and deputies' interviews, McLaughlin said.
The incident began about 10:30 p.m. July 12, when Larimer County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeffery Kaley said he witnessed an SUV speeding northbound at an estimated 90 mph in a 40 mph-zone near the intersection of Timberline and Drake roads, McLaughlin said.
Kaley pursued the vehicle, reaching speeds of 70 mph, until the driver of the vehicle - later identified as 22-year-old Bryan Erdbruegger - pulled over on Prospect Road east of Specht Point Road, according to McLaughlin.
Video footage reportedly shows Kaley getting out of his vehicle with his gun drawn and approaching Erdbruegger's vehicle, then Erdbruegger allegedly opening his car door and shooting at Kaley, McLaughlin said. Kaley returned fire as a second deputy, Aaron Horwitz, arrived on scene.
Horwitz told investigators he immediately heard gunfire upon arrival and returned fire at Erdbruegger, according to McLaughlin.
Evidence from the scene indicates that Erdbruegger was hit by the initial shots fired by deputies. But McLaughlin said video footage shows he continued to reload his gun and fired additional shots and then moved toward Kaley while holding the gun.
Kaley told investigators his gun was out of ammunition and he couldn't reload it, so he tried to wrestle Erdbruegger's gun away from him, according to McLaughlin. Erdbruegger allegedly fired one shot during that confrontation, McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said Kaley pushed Erdbruegger back, and Erdbruegger retreated toward his vehicle then allegedly turned back and pointed his gun at the deputies. Horwitz was able to reload his weapon and fired repeatedly at Erdbruegger, shooting him several times and causing him to fall.
Erdbruegger was shot four times, according to McLaughlin.
Additional deputies and medics arrived, but Erdbruegger reportedly apologized and said he didn't want medical aid. He later told CIRT investigators that this was a suicide attempt, McLaughlin said.
Investigators recovered 17 casings they say were fired by Erdbruegger and 40 total casings fired by deputies at the scene. McLaughlin said they believe nine shots Erdbruegger allegedly fired struck Kaley's patrol car.
Neither deputy was injured in the shooting.
Two vehicles drove by while the shooting was in progress, McLaughlin said. The driver of the first car told investigators they saw a man halfway out of his vehicle looking back at a deputy and then hearing multiple gunshots. The passenger of the second vehicle that drove by told investigators they saw a man pointing a gun at a deputy and firing several shots.
The back of second vehicle that drove past the shooting was also hit by one bullet fired by deputies, according to McLaughlin. No witnesses were injured.
Kaley told investigators that, during the incident, he believed he had been shot, but was uninjured and likely hit by debris that came off his car when it was hit by gunfire, McLaughlin said.
Both Kaley and Horwitz told investigators they believed their lives were in danger, McLaughlin said.
Erdbruegger has been charged with two counts of attempted murder; second-degree assault of a police officer, a Class 4 felony; illegal discharge of a firearm, a Class 5 felony; and speeding, a traffic infraction.
The second-degree assault charge stems from an allegation that Erdbruegger spit on another deputy while being taken to the hospital, McLaughlin said.
Erdbruegger remains in the Larimer County Jail on a $200,000 bond. He is next scheduled to appear in court Sept. 8.
Help for someone in crisis
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988, or call 911 in case of an emergency.
Colorado Crisis Support can be reached at 1-844-493-8255 or by texting HOME to 741741.
Larimer County resources:
SummitStone Crisis Stabilization Unit, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: summitstonehealth.org/services/; 970-494-4200
UCHealth Mountain Crest Behavioral Health Center: uchealth.org/services/behavioral-health/; 970-207-4800
Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County: allianceforsuicideprevention.org/
How CIRT works
The 8th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, or CIRT, was formed in 2015 in accordance with a new state law requiring a multiagency team to investigate "an incident involving the discharge of a firearm by a peace officer that resulted in injury or death."
The team is automatically and immediately activated when a police officer is involved in a shooting. The agency that employs the officer or officers involved in a shooting is responsible for alerting the team.
CIRT can also investigate incidents involving officers that result in serious injury or death, including car crashes, as well as incidents in the Larimer County Jail.
Fort Collins Police Services, Loveland Police Department and the Larimer County Sheriff's Office take turns being the lead agency for police shooting investigations. Each year, the responsibility rotates to a different agency.
Agencies involved in the investigations include: Windsor Police Department, Timnath Police Department, Johnstown Police Department, Estes Park Police Department, Colorado State University Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and the Larimer County District Attorney's Office.
An agency cannot investigate itself.
After a CIRT investigation is completed, the report is presented to the district attorney, who decides if any criminal charges will be filed related to the incident.
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Larimer County DA charges driver, clears deputies in July shooting