Officer-involved shootings in Boulder

May 30, 2014: Three Boulder police officers shoot at University of Colorado student Coleman Stewart after Stewart pointed a pellet gun out the window of his apartment during a standoff on University Hill. Stewart was hit in the arm and knee, but he survived. All three officers were cleared.

Nov. 24, 2013: Boulder police officer Vincent Gallerani shoots and kills Michael Habay at Wimbledon Condominiums, 3009 Madison St., after responding to calls of a man armed with a knife and a machete who was allegedly making threatening remarks and "stabbing a post" outside his apartment. The shooting was later ruled to be justified.

March 17, 2008: A SWAT team member — CU Cpl. Matt DeLaria — fatally shoots Terrance Baughman, who claimed he was wearing a bomb inside Boulder Community Hospital. DeLaria was cleared in the shooting.

A Boulder police officer shot and killed a University of Colorado student believed to be high on LSD late Monday, after the man attacked residents with a knife, then confronted police with a hammer while naked, officials said.

Police said the suspect — identified by the coroner as Samuel Forgy, 22 — climbed onto a railing at the 19th Street apartment complex as if he was going to jump down on the officers on the landing below him.

Police said an officer tried unsuccessfully to use a Taser on Forgy before he was fatally shot by a second officer, but a neighbor who witnessed the confrontation said the stun gun and the handgun were fired almost simultaneously.

"There was a crackle and then 'pop, pop, pop,'" neighbor Nikki Larsen said Tuesday morning. "One after the other. It was less than a second. In an instant of time, Taser — then three gunshots."

CU officials confirmed Forgy was a student on the Boulder campus, where he was majoring in applied mathematics. He transferred to CU last year from the Community College of Denver, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Bouler police said they were originally called to the scene after a resident of an apartment at 1841 19th St. phoned 911 shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday to report that a man was acting erratically and was outside the apartment, screaming.

When officers arrived, police said, they found a 23-year-old victim with cuts to his face. The man suffered multiple knife wounds, including a 6-inch cut to his forehead and a bite on his hand, police said. He was later transported to Boulder Community Health and was listed in good condition early Tuesday morning, police said.

Investigators are seen at 1841 19th St. on Tuesday morning following an officer-involved shooting late Monday. Boulder police say an officer fatally shot a
Investigators are seen at 1841 19th St. on Tuesday morning following an officer-involved shooting late Monday. Boulder police say an officer fatally shot a suspect in a knife attack. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer)

After locating the stabbing victim, officers made their way up the stairwell to the second-story apartment, then confronted Forgy, who was naked and armed with a hammer, according to police.

Officers repeatedly ordered Forgy to drop the hammer, police said, but he instead climbed up onto the railing, which is roughly 15 feet from the ground.

One officer shot Forgy with a Taser, police said, but it failed to subdue him. A second officer fired his gun multiple times and struck Forgy, who fell to the landing below and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police did not say how many times the officer fired his gun.

"Multiple times," Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said. "That's all we're saying at this point."

Officials said Forgy was subletting the apartment unit and that people in that apartment told investigators he had been using LSD.

'Put the hammer down!'

Larsen said she and her husband witnessed the shooting from their deck about 75 yards away. She said they saw police officers run up the stairs before stopping and ordering the suspect to come out.

"We just saw (officers) all running and heading up the stairwell, and they paused on the landing just before the top," Larsen said. Forgy "came out and was standing on the landing, and the officers said, 'Put the hammer down! Put the hammer down!' And he sort of squatted and put the hammer down."

Larsen said she heard the suspect yell, "I'm so tired," then turn to his right and make what appeared to be a lunging motion.

That's when Larsen said she heard what she believes was a Taser, then three gunshots.

Huntley said police are not sure yet why the Taser didn't subdue the suspect or how soon shots were fired after the stun gun was deployed.

"We're still trying to determine what exactly happened with the Taser," she said. "With a Taser, there are two probes that actually have to strike the suspect in order to have a full contact, and we're not sure that both probes actually struck the suspect.

"Another possibility that we've seen in the past is that when we have a suspect who's heavily intoxicated or on drugs, sometimes (a Taser) is not as effective. So, investigators are looking into both of those possibilities."

The officer who shot the suspect will be placed on leave with pay until the Boulder County District Attorney's Office completes its review of the shooting.

The shooting is under investigation by the Boulder County Investigative Team, a multi-jurisdictional unit that will report its findings to DA Stan Garnett and police Chief Greg Testa.

'It was pretty horrifying'

Some of those who lived in Forgy's complex, meanwhile, are still trying to piece together what happened. When contacted Tuesday, several neighbors said they'd never seen Forgy before.

"It's terrifying," said neighbor Brett Spencer, who arrived home Monday night roughly an hour after the shooting. "We had gotten to know people in the building, so it's really nerve-wracking to think that they were involved."

Directly across the street from the complex, Sierra Brashear said she heard what sounded like four or five shots.

"We thought they were fireworks, but then my friend turned on the police scanner and heard them call for an ambulance," said Brashear, who watched from her upstairs window as emergency vehicles flooded 19th Street.

"It was pretty horrifying to know we had heard gunshots that actually killed someone."

Kate Haddon, chapter adviser for the Community College of Denver's Phi Theta Kappa honors program, said Forgy was a member of the society before he went to CU in 2014.

Haddon said she knew Forgy only as a student but was shocked to hear about the allegations of drug use.

"It's surprising," Haddon said. "He was very smart, sarcastically funny. He was great."

Forgy's death represents the third officer-involved shooting in Boulder in three years, and the fourth since 2008.

It's also the second time this year that someone reportedly high on psychedelic drugs died by gunshot; 19-year-old Roberto Zamora was fatally shot during a home invasion May 4 in south Boulder. Prosecutors later ruled the shooting justified and said Zamora was likely on mushrooms.

Staff Writer Alex Burness contributed to this report.

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars