BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The Boulder District Attorney has determined that the shooting death of a man under the influence of LSD by a Boulder Police officer.
On July 27, Boulder Police Officer Dillon Garretson shot and killed University of Colorado student Samuel Forgy, 22, who was naked and carrying a hammer outside an apartment complex at 1841 19th Street in Boulder. Officers said he ignored orders to put down the weapon.
Earlier in the evening, Forgy attacked several people with a knife inside his apartment, leaving one man seriously injured with a 3-inch cut above his eye and another cut on his face.
“There was blood all over the place. They knew there had been injuries,” said Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett.
Others in the apartment suffered minor injuries like bite marks.
Officers confirmed that Forgy briefly crouched down and put the hammer on the landing as if he was complying with their orders but then picked up the hammer again and muttered unintelligibly. He quickly climbed onto the balcony hand railing.
Police said when Forgy stood up again Boulder Police Officer Darren Fladung deployed his taser to try to stop him. While one probe lodged in Forgy’s side the second probe missed and lodged in the wall behind him. In order for the taser to work both probes must contact the body to complete the electrical circuit.
Officer Garretson fired multiple shots from his service weapon and Forgy was struck and fell from the railing to the stairs and part of a landing below the officers. He was pronounced dead on scene with the hammer found beneath his body.
“There is no question that criminal charges against Officer Garretson would not be warranted,’ said Garnett.
Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa called what happened tragic, “Our condolences go out to the Forgy family.”
Analysis of Forgy’s blood at autopsy revealed the presence of LSD, amphetamines and THC.
Garnett wrote a letter to Testa stating that the shooting was justified and quoted another letter written to the police department from one of the injured, “Thank you for patching me up, giving me clothes and a safe place to stay. And I hope the person who shot Sam knows that he saved peoples’ lives in that apartment.”
Garretson has not returned from leave and it will be his decision when he returns.
“What we think we’re seeing is an increase in serious drug use in our community, of LSD, of mushrooms, and of heroin,” Garnett said.
Forgy’s death is the latest in a series of violent encounters between law enforcement throughout Boulder County and people who’ve taken drugs. In May, 19-year-old Robert Zamora was shot and killed by a homeowner on Pima Court after intruding and behaving bizarrely.
The teen, also a CU student, was reportedly on mushrooms at the time. Boulder County sheriff’s deputies and police officers in Longmont also report having responded to incidents in recent months where they’ve found individuals high on hallucinogens, sometimes naked, being uncooperative and sometimes violent. Garnett called the incidents “really unfortunate scenarios.”
The increase across Boulder County mirrors a national trend of rising heroin use. Garnett says statistics gathered by the county coroner’s office show that since 2012 the number of heroin overdose related deaths has more than doubled.
In response, Boulder police are now equipped with Narcan, an opiate-effect reversing drug that can stop the impacts of an overdose. Testa says the department is the first in Colorado to issue the nasal spray to all its patrol officers.
“We’re proud that we’re progressive in terms of trying to provide a service to save people’s lives,” Testa said.
Both Testa and Garnett said police response is just one element of what a community-wide response to a growing drug abuse problem.