Friends and family members of Coleman Stewart, the University of Colorado student shot by police during a Friday morning standoff, are searching for information as to why the situation escalated, and why deadly force was used.

"We don't know anything," said Deric Stewart, the suspect's father. "I've heard 10 different stories."

The account by police begins about 1 a.m. Friday with Stewart, a 23-year-old taking classes in CU's Continuing Education Program, getting into a disagreement with a cab driver who alleged Stewart attempted to flee without paying.

The driver quickly alerted police, and Stewart, who reportedly had been drinking, ran inside his University Hill apartment building at 1090 11th St., one block from where the cab dropped him, and two blocks from a police annex.

The scene early Friday of the officer involved shooting on University Hill in which 23-year-old Coleman Stewart was shot by Boulder officers.
The scene early Friday of the officer involved shooting on University Hill in which 23-year-old Coleman Stewart was shot by Boulder officers. (Jason Lutz / For the Camera)

Shortly thereafter, police say, Stewart pointed a gun at them, prompting officers to fire multiple shots at the suspect.

Police later found a pellet gun behind Stewart's front door, and friends insisted Friday that he does not own any deadly firearms. Police have not reported finding any lethal weapons in their sweep of his apartment.

A close friend of Stewart's, who asked to be identified only as Jon, said several brothers of CU's Sigma Pi fraternity overheard the interaction between Stewart and police that ensued immediately after the shooting.

"People heard him screaming, 'What is happening? Why did you shoot me?'" said Jon, who grew up with Stewart in Mission Hills, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, Mo. When contacted, however, several men living there refused comment.

"I highly doubt it is as the police are portraying it," Jon added. "He's a good kid, bottom line. . . He's smart enough to know that (pointing a weapon at police) would end in him being killed. No matter how many drinks or whatever."

Stewart's immediate family isn't yet convinced the sequence of events is exactly as police have portrayed it, though Stewart's father insisted the family wouldn't comment further without first consulting an attorney.

"There's a lot I'd like to say," he said Saturday. "But it's a private matter. That's all we can say for now."

After a two-and-a-half-hour standoff with SWAT members, Stewart was transported to Boulder Community Health for treatment on his gunshot wounds, which were not considered life-threatening.

Deric Stewart declined to comment on his son's condition Saturday.

Two police officers were also injured in the incident. One was struck by the fragment of a ricocheted bullet, fired by another officer. The second injured officer had glass fly into their eye after breaking down a window to the apartment building.

Neither injury was directly caused by Stewart, and both officers are in fine condition.

Police plan to release the identities of the officers on Sunday, when they are also expected to release the charges facing Stewart.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or