The three Boulder County law enforcement officers who fired their weapons at a carjacking suspect who displayed a gun during a chase in Boulder were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.
Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Josh Bonafede and Deputy Jeff Black and University of Colorado Boulder police Officer Jon Allendorf were all cleared in the shooting, which occurred on May 12.
According to police, Trenton Joshua Dunham, 25, went on an armed crime spree that started in Greeley before ending in Boulder. At one point, Bonafede, Black and Allenfeld fired on Dunham’s vehicle after Dunham reportedly pointed a gun at another officer. None of the shots hit Dunham.
The shooting was investigated by the Boulder County Investigation Team, which then presented its finding to Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty.
Dougherty ruled in a letter released Monday that all three officers were justified in their actions.
“When a member of law enforcement uses potentially deadly physical force, the integrity of these investigations is important to everyone involved and to our community,” Dougherty said in a statement. “I am grateful that the Critical Incident Team conducted an independent and extremely thorough investigation. Based on our review of that investigation, it is quite clear that the officers acted lawfully and were legally justified in their response to Mr. Dunham’s actions. Also, I want to recognize the rapid response, teamwork, and courage exhibited by law enforcement officers from multiple agencies in their efforts to apprehend Mr. Dunham.”
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Bonafede and Black have been reinstated to full active duty after being placed on non-enforcement duties during the investigation, which is standard protocol.
“We appreciate the work of the Boulder County Investigation Team and the thorough review by the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office,” Boulder County Undersheriff Tom Sloan said in a statement.
CU Boulder police said Allendorf, who was placed on paid leave during the investigation, is transitioning back to active duty.
“I am thankful for the prompt and thorough investigation into this matter. I also commend the quick action and coordinated response from CUPD, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and the Boulder Police Department, which undoubtedly helped prevent injury or loss of life on May 12th,” CU Boulder police Chief Doreen Jokerst said in a statement. “Along with our utmost commitment to public safety, we extend the same commitment to the health and well-being of our officers as we work to integrate and support our officer back to full-duty.”
According to the affidavit, the spree began when Dunham reportedly shot at his father’s house in Greeley and then stole his car. He then crashed that car and stole a truck at gunpoint Thursday morning in Broomfield.
Shortly after that, Dunham was seen driving the stolen truck on the Pearl Street pedestrian mall, striking property near 15th and Pearl streets. The description of the truck, which was a work vehicle with a company logo on the side, allowed Broomfield police to connect the cases.
The vehicle was spotted again just before 7 a.m. Officers who saw it coordinated stop sticks to disable the vehicle. Though the sticks deflated the tires, the vehicle continued driving on its rims, the release said.
According to the shoot team investigation, as Dunham drove near Table Mesa Drive and 42nd Street, he pointed a handgun at an officer, who aired over the radio that Dunham was armed and had pointed a weapon at him.
Black, positioned in the westbound left turn lane for southbound Moorhead Avenue, also saw Dunham point the gun at him and fired on Dunham. Bonafede, positioned at the back of his vehicle at Table Mesa Drive and Moorhead Avenue, saw Dunham “aggressively targeting” Black and also opened fire.
According to the report, Allendorf was at Table Mesa Drive and Moorhead Avenue when he believed Dunham fired a shot and fired his own weapon at Dunham.
The three officers reported firing a total of seven shots, though only six shell casings were recovered. Bonafede and Black each said they fired three shots while Allendorf said he fired one.
Dunham then continued down Table Mesa Drive toward the eastbound U.S. 36 entrance ramp and then onto the sidewalk headed toward the RTD bus stop where people ran from the vehicle’s path.
Officers were able to use police vehicle maneuvers to stop Dunham’s vehicle.
“Under the circumstances, it was entirely reasonable for Commander Bonafede, Deputy Black, and Officer Allendorf to believe that Mr. Dunham was armed with a firearm, driving a stolen vehicle, and presented an imminent threat of deadly harm to themselves, fellow officers, and civilians,” the report read. “Based on Colorado law, the physical force that Commander Bonafede, Deputy Black, and Officer Allendorf used in response to Mr. Dunham was both reasonable and appropriate.”
Dunham is charged with attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer after deliberation, two counts of attempted first-degree murder – extreme indifference, two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of first-degree assault on a peace officer, two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, four counts of aggravated motor vehicle theft, felony criminal mischief, attempted second-degree assault, six counts of felony menacing, illegal discharge of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, first-degree auto trespassing, theft, careless driving, leaving the scene of a crash, and three crime of violence sentence enhancers.
Dunham remains in custody on $1 million bond and is set for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 19.