ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Adams County district attorney has decided not to file any criminal charges against Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Wilfred Europe, who shot and killed a dog, “Ziggy,” in January.
In a letter dated March 1 from Adams County District Attorney Dave Young to Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr, the district attorney wrote, “Based upon the evidence presented and applicable law, no criminal charges will be filed against the law enforcement officer in the incident.”
Europe was one of two deputies who responded on a burglar alarm call but ended up at the wrong address, where they shot and killed Jeff Fisher’s dog. Deputy Europe reported he “had no choice” but to shoot and kill Ziggy as the deputy said the dog was lunging towards him and was threatening to “bite me.”
According to dispatch tapes, the deputies had been dispatched to 5384 Tennyson Street on a report of an alarm going off. But they ended up at Fisher’s business at 5460 Tennyson Street, where Europe reported Ziggy advanced on him and was acting aggressive. Fisher has disputed that account. Europe fired two shots, one hit the dog.
The district attorney wrote that “the evidence is insufficient to have a reasonable likelihood of success at trial in meeting our burden that Deputy Europe ‘needlessly’ killed the dog beyond a reasonable doubt.” The district attorney further stated that facts and evidence gathered during the investigation “appears to corroborate the deputies’ version of events.”
CBS4 has previously reported that Europe was involved in a fatal shooting in February 2012 when he shot and killed a man who Europe said was reaching for a gun during a traffic stop. It later turned out the gun Don Cambron was reaching for on the floor of the car was a pellet gun. A critical incident team cleared Europe of any wrongdoing in the case saying Europe believed he and his fellow officers faced a life-threatening situation.
Europe also shot and wounded another dog in 2011. In that case, he shot a pit bull, Titus, during a call on July 25, 2011.
Following the Ziggy shooting, Darr announced Europe had been removed from patrol duties and had been reassigned.
Europe’s attorney, Donald Sisson, told CBS4, “We are satisfied the district attorney conducted a thorough investigation into the facts surrounding Deputy Wilfred Europe’s use of force. And we are pleased that they recognized that his use of force was reasonable and justified.”
Jennifer Reba Edwards, the attorney who represents Fisher, reacted to the decision with disappointment.
“I think the evidence that was examined in the investigation would have lent itself to criminal charges against the officer. The killing of Ziggy was not at all necessary,” Edwards said.
LINK: The Decision Letter
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com