LASALLE, Colo. (CBS4) – The widow of an Adams County deputy who was fatally shot by a LaSalle police officer at the conclusion of a vehicle pursuit is now suing the LaSalle officer and the town for wrongful death.
The lawsuit was filed U.S. District Court in Denver on Friday, almost a year to the day following the shooting.READ MORE: Young Runner Evades Suspected Abductor In Jefferson County
The complaint was submitted by attorneys representing Sheila Constable. Constable herself is a former Longmont Police Department officer. She was married to Adams County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jesse Jenson.
The night of Jan. 16, 2019, Jenson was off duty and driving an unmarked Toyota 4Runner when he joined officers from other agencies in the pursuit of a silver Jeep Patriot headed northbound on Highway 85.
The incident started as a chase at 10:25 p.m., according to Greeley police. Officers chased two cars on Highway 85 from Platteville to Evans after the drivers didn’t stop for officers.
Court documents indicate the Patriot and Toyota 4Runner driven by the deputy continued over the Platte River Bridge and the 4Runner pulled alongside the Patriot, swerving at the Jeep, forcing it onto the shoulder. The actions made LaSalle Police Department Officer Caroline Persichetti believe the occupants of the patriot were victims of the aggressive driving.
After the 4Runner slowed down and stopped, court documents state Jenson got out of the vehicle “aggressively” and walked up to the officer without obeying her commands. Then, she fired her weapon at him, hitting him in the head. She described fearing for her life, saying he aggressively approached her. It was later determined that Jenson was not armed.
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Jenson passed away Jan. 18.
Persichetti was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a Weld County grand jury.
LINK: Full Grand Jury Decision
Constable’s lawsuit faults Persichetti’s inconsistent recall of the incident. It also blames the city’s department for not ensuring Persichetti was psychologically counseled and treated following a traumatic incident months prior to the shooting in which the officer was dragged by a vehicle.
The lawsuit also claims the LaSalle department skipped steps in critical incident policy for its officers involved in fatal shootings the previous six years.
Gordon Vaughan, of Colorado Springs-based Vaughan and DeMuro, is representing Persichetti and the town. Vaughan told the Greeley Tribune he believes the lawsuit misstates the facts and engages in “wildly unsupported and incorrect speculation.”
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