LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – A 19-year-old man who lives with mental disabilities is in the hospital recovering from three surgeries after being shot by at least one Loveland police officer Monday night. Alex Domina allegedly confronted officers with a knife in his hand prior to being shot.
According to the family’s attorney, Mari Newman, Alex’s grandmother called 911 asking for help Monday night. According to Newman, Judy Domina called police saying her grandson was experiencing a mental crisis and was being destructive inside the home where she has raised him. Alex, who is said to have the IQ of a child, was allegedly abused as a child and has been living with Judy since.
Newman claimed Judy told dispatchers her grandson was having a mental crisis, but underscored that he could be talked down from his rage by emergency responders.
“She did everything right. She told the 911 operator he was suffering from mental disabilities. She told them he was having a mental health crisis. She told them he could be talked down and wouldn’t hurt anybody,” Newman alleged.
CBS4 requested the 911 and body camera recordings connected to the incident to confirm the story Newman was told. However, due to the ongoing investigation, neither could be obtained at the time.
Newman said Judy met officers outside when they arrived. Moments later, while in the backyard of the home off of Tennessee Street, the shooting took place. No officers were injured, but Alex was rushed to the hospital with three gunshot wounds to the abdomen.
When asked if Alex charged officers with a weapon, or if he attempted to attack them in any way, Newman said that was not clear to his family at this time.
“Alex did come out of his house with a kitchen knife,” Newman said. “We haven’t been able to see the body camera footage yet, so nobody knows exactly what happened.”
Judy accused Loveland police of refusing to allow her to console her grandson as he lay in the backyard bleeding. Newman accused Loveland police of not attending to Alex until further backup arrived.
Newman said Judy Domina has been by her grandson’s side while he has recovered from three different surgeries in two days. Other than the wellbeing of her loved one, Newman said Judy was largely concerned about the way officers allegedly handled the response.
Newman noted Loveland police were recently brought under national scrutiny following the arrest of Karen Garner, an elderly woman who suffers from dementia. Garner was forcefully taken to the ground twice by former officer Austin Hopp in 2020. Garner experienced a broken arm, sprained wrist and separated shoulder in the arrest which stemmed from accusations that she attempted to steal less than $15 worth of merchandise from a nearby Walmart. Austin Hopp, and fellow-former officer Daria Jalali, were arrested and charged with the handling of the case.
Soon after the arrests of Jalali and Hopp, the entire Loveland police force underwent further training on how to identify and interact with those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
CBS4 requested an interview with Loveland police on Aug. 18, 2021 asking for further information on Alex Domina’s case and whether the training officers receive includes how to interact with those experiencing mental illness and crisis.
Loveland’s Assistant Chief of Police, Laurie Scott, denied an interview citing the ongoing investigation. Scott referred CBS4 to the police department in Fort Collins which is overseeing the investigation into the officer-involved shooting. FCPS responded to our inquiry Wednesday and said they couldn’t provide any further info on the shooting due to the open status of the investigation.
Newman said she was disappointed to see the officer involved shooting took place, saying she felt Judy Domina made it clear to the agency that her grandson was capable of being talked out of his crisis.
“Of all departments, Loveland should be acutely aware of the problems of using violence with people who have mental disabilities,” Newman told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “It’s a knife not a gun. Simply backing away and talking to him would’ve kept officers safe and him safe.”