(CBS4) — A Colorado man headed home from his job in Texas was shot and killed by a national parks ranger. His family says he was unarmed and not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Now they want justice.
Family members say Gage Lorentz was a Western Slope young man with Colorado values.
“He was a genuine young man with a heart of gold,” says his mother, Kim Beck.
His sister Skylar says, “He was just the best person I’ve known.”
His family says they raised him to be an upstanding man.
“He was raised with manners and respect, and he knew the difference between right and wrong,” says his mom Kim.
His dad Travis Lorentz adds, “He was a good man. A hard worker.”
He worked in oil and gas in Pecos, Texas. In March he was traveling home to Montrose after a long shift. He was driving through Carlsbad National Park in New Mexico when a National Park Ranger stopped him, allegedly for speeding.
Body camera video from the incident shows Lorentz following commands. At one point he dances to a song being played from another car. The ranger asks Lorentz to turn around and Lorentz tells him no. The ranger then tells Lorentz to take his hands out of his pocket immediately — before he attempts to use a TASER on him.
Twenty seconds of the video are missing but when the camera comes back on the ranger has a gun and shoots Lorentz. Lorentz eventually died. The officer claims later on the body camera video that, during the missing part of the video, the barbs from the TASER didn’t penetrate Lorentz’s jacket and the TASER was ineffective. He says Lorentz attacked him striking him on the head.
His family says that isn’t in Lorentz’s nature. Plus, he was unarmed and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They had no idea this even took place because no one called them to tell them.
His dad explains, “One of his good friends got concerned and called me and I told him to wait a little bit just in case Gage pulled over to sleep or whatever. Give him a little bit of time… but he immediately started calling the state authorities from Texas and New Mexico and he’s actually the one that found out.”
Lorentz’s family says he lay bleeding for eight minutes before the ranger, who was also EMT certified, even attempted to help him. Even then, they say it was 16 minutes before he truly rendered any aid by putting an oxygen mask on Lorentz. Then they say after he died, Lorentz’s body was left out in the desert overnight.
Gage’s family still hasn’t heard anything from the National Park Service and any information they have received they have gotten from Eddy county in New Mexico with the help of attorneys.
Now they want the whole world to know about their son and brother and they want to see the ranger that shot and killed him brought to justice.
“He murdered our son. what we would like to see is justice. we would like to see people held accountable,” says his mother Kim.
The Eddy County Sheriff did not return emails by CBS4 requesting more information about the case.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.