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Top 10 Local News Stories of 2018: No. 8 — Longmont Police Officers Cleared in Shooting Death of Gillie Thurby III

December 24, 2018

Top 10 local news stories of 2018

Through Dec. 31, the Times-Call will count down the top stories of the year, as selected by the newspaper’s editors.

10. Longmont high school teams post successful post-seasons

9. Longmont allows recreational marijuana shops

8. Police officers cleared in shooting death of Gillie Thurby III

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty ruled in late November that Longmont police were justified when they shot a wanted man six times outside of a movie theater in September.

Three police officers were present at the shooting outside of Regal Cinema at Village at the Peaks, and two of the officers fired 10 shots at Gillie Thurby III, 28, after he pulled a loaded firearm. Prior to the shooting, officers attempted to subdue Thurby with a Taser.

Thurby, who, died at the scene, was wanted on a failure to appear warrant and had two open child sexual assault cases pending in Boulder District Court at the time of his death. He was wanted on a failure to appear warrant, and police also stated that Thurby had attempted to purchase a firearm in Loveland, a violation of his bond conditions.

Police received a tip that Thurby was at the movie theater, and a plainclothes officer responded to the scene, spotted Thurby and called for backup. Two uniformed officers arrived, and made contact with Thurby, who attempted to give a false name.

Thurby attempted to leave the scene, and the plainclothes officer saw that he was armed and shouted out. A second officer also saw something in Thurby’s waistband and fired a Taser at him. Thurby fell down but pulled the gun from his waistband, prompting the plainclothes officer and one of the uniformed officers to shoot him.

An autopsy report showed Thurby was hit six times, twice in the lower abdomen and four times in the neck and face. All of the shots were fired at a slightly upward trajectory.

The three officers were placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but were reinstated after Dougherty released his findings .

Longmont police and the district attorney have not released the names of the officers, a rarity in a police shooting, because of threats levied against the police department by people associated with Thurby.

Thurby’s brother, Bruce Thurby, was arrested in December on suspicion of eluding a Boulder County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was keeping tabs on him during a high risk eviction in late November. An arrest report identified Bruce Thurby as one of the people allegedly making threats against the police.

John Bear: 303-473-1355, bearj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/johnbearwithme