BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting where a Boulder police officer shot a suspect during a disturbance at an apartment building Sunday afternoon.
Boulder police responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment building at 3009 Madison Street involving a man they say had a knife and a machete. When they arrived they contacted Kirsten Stenseng, 41. Her mother had called police concerned about Stenseng’s welfare.
“However, Stenseng advised the officers that nothing had happened between her and her boyfriend,” police said in a statement.
Police then left the scene but were later called by a neighbor who said the suspect, identified as Michael Habay, 42, was yelling and throwing things out of the apartment.
“The caller also observed the suspect with a large knife stabbing a wooden post outside the apartment. The manner in which the suspect was yelling led the caller to believe the victim was in the apartment,” police said.
When they knocked on the Habay’s door there was no response. Believing Stenseng might be in danger, officers forced their way in to the apartment and say Habay jumped out from near the doorway with a knife in each hand.
Police asked Habay to get down.
“One officer had to deflect the suspect with a ballistic shield as he ran past him and toward Officer Vincent Gallerani. Officer Gallerani was unable to retreat before the suspect was upon him. Thinking the first officer had been injured and he was about to be stabbed, Officer Gallerani fired three shots at very close range, striking the suspect at least two times.”
Habay was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Stenseng was found safe in a nearby apartment with another resident.
“During the follow-up investigation, threatening comments directed at Stenseng were found posted on social media by the suspect.”
A neighbor said Habay had been involved in violent confrontation with his girlfriend several times.
“It is always unfortunate when an officer has to use deadly force and it is a very emotional experience for any officer who is put in this situation,” Police Chief Mark Beckner said. “We are very thankful none of our officers were injured by this attack. Additionally, our condolences go out to the suspect’s family for their loss. From what we know right now, it appears as though the officers took reasonable measures to protect everyone’s safety, but were forced into a very difficult and life threatening situation.”
Gallerani is a 14 year veteran of the department. The officer who used a shield to defend himself from attack is Officer Nick Smetzer, a 12 year veteran.