Boulder DA Withholds Names of Officers in Fatal Shooting After Threats to Longmont Officers
The Longmont Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office are looking into threats made against the officers who in September shot and killed a wanted suspect, prompting officials to take the unusual step of not publicly naming the officers involved.
Gillie Thurby III, 28, was shot and killed by two Longmont police officers on Sept. 20.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty earlier this week cleared the officers of any wrongdoing , noting that Thurby pulled a gun on officers after having the weapon delivered to him in what Dougherty said appeared to be premeditated decision to get into a shootout with police.
Police were trying to arrest Thurby for failing to appear at a hearing in his pending sexual assault cases.
But while Dougherty cleared the officers of any wrongdoing, he did not name them in the letter due to “repeated and numerous threats against members of the Longmont Police Department related to this incident, by individuals connected to Mr. Thurby.”
Boulder County District Attorney spokeswoman Catherine Olguin said while officials cannot recall another instance of Boulder County not releasing the names of officers in a police shooting, she said the threats were alarming enough to warrant the move.
“The threats made posed enough concern for the safety of officers and their families if the officers’ names were made public,” Olguin said. “Individuals connected to Mr. Thurby have made repeated threats to the Longmont Police Department through social media, phone calls to the police department, and statements to other witnesses.”
Olguin said the threats made references to “seeking vengeance,” “better watch out for the Thurby family,” and “gonna pay the price.” At least one of the individuals also has a prior “dangerous incident” involving the Longmont Police Department.
And while Olguin said the redaction of the names might be a first for Boulder County, she said other Colorado agencies have taken similar steps in the past when officer safety has been at risk.
“It’s not completely unheard of,” Olguin said.
Olguin said Longmont police are investigating the threats, though Longmont police have not yet commented on them.
The three officers involved in the incident were all reinstated to active duty after being placed on paid leave for the duration of the investigation.
Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/mitchellbyars