The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
The Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office ruled on Thursday that the actions of a Fountain Police Department corporal in fatally shooting a man on May 20, 2023, were “concerning” but did not support criminal charges.
The shooting occurred the day after officers made contact with James Boyle, 51, regarding a domestic disturbance. The DA statement read that officers met Boyle outside the residence at 3 Taos Circle in Fountain, where he claimed that his wife, Shawna Boyle, had locked him out of the house. Boyle told officers that he did not want them on the property and that his dog was aggressive, according to the district attorney’s office.
The next day two different officers, corporal Zachary Corey and officer Destin Alvarez, returned regarding another disturbance call. According to the district attorney’s office the officers were in the process of leaving since the alleged victim in the disturbance, Shawna Boyle, had later said she did not want officers to respond. The officers met the Boyle’s adult son Bret Boyle near the residence, where he shared concerns that his father was threatening to kill his mother and had sexually assaulted her in the past.
Bret Boyle also shared video of his father allegedly making threats towards his mother. He told officers that Shawna Boyle’s mother was in the residence in hospice care and discussed plans for obtaining an emergency protection order for Shawna. He also told the officers that James Boyle had recently been on a methamphetamines binge and had access to firearms in the house.
The officers confronted Boyle and his wife outside the residence after contacting Shawna Boyle by phone. Body worn camera footage released shows Boyle asking whether he was under arrest. When the officers said no, Boyle started towards the door. The officers attempted to grab Boyle, starting a physical altercation in which Boyle was pushed on top of his wife to the side of the door.
At the same time a pit bull owned by Boyle attacked Alvarez, biting him on the face and arm, according to the district attorney’s office. Alvarez shot the dog four times, killing the animal.
Boyle crawled off his wife despite the officers telling him to stop moving, and Alvarez is shown using a taser on Boyle in the footage. Boyle starts toward the door again, at which point Corey shoots Boyle twice in the back.
The officers render aid to Boyle in the footage, where he can be heard telling the officers “I’m dying. Just leave me alone.”
An autopsy investigation later confirmed that Boyle died of the gunshot wounds inflicted by Corey.
The district attorney’s office ruled that Alvarez was justified in shooting the dog since he reasonable believed he was in “imminent danger” from the attack.
The ruling on corporal Corey’s actions was less clear cut. The DA statement read that it was “difficult to analyze under the given facts in this investigation and in light of the law. To be clear, [Corey’s] actions are concerning but ultimately, they do not rise to the level sufficient to support criminal charges.”
In a partial interview shared in the DA statement, Corey said that he shot Boyle because of a perceived threat in the possibility of Boyle obtaining a weapon inside the house.
“Well, he starts turning and I know what he’s going to do,” Corey said. “He’s going to try to go back into the house. He was fighting us to get back into the house. And in that moment like, it was like time slowed down a little bit, like your adrenaline and everything. He was moving in slow motion, but I saw what he was going to do, and I knew that, I was afraid if he got back inside, he was going to kill somebody. I could not let him get back inside. So, I shot him twice in the torso.”
The DA said that the facts of a case against Corey did not have “reasonable likelihood of success at trial.”
Daniel Kay, an attorney representing the Boyle family, released the following statement to The Gazette regarding the findings from the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office:
“The Boyle family is saddened and disgusted by the District Attorneys rubber stamping the killing, beating and repeated tasing of James Boyle. The Fountain Police department was supposed to protect and serve Mr. and Mrs. Boyle instead they showed up concerning a possible civil Restraining Order and every decision they made after that was the wrong one. Officer Alvarez repeatedly tased Mr. Boyle for over 35 seconds straight and Officer Corey shot Mr. Boyle in the back 2 times standing within 3 feet of him. Mr. Boyle had not committed a crime and he did not have a warrant. There was no reason for him to have been beaten, tased and shot in the back resulting in his death by two Fountain Police officers.”
Kay additionally provided The Gazette with a copy of the civil complaint filed by his office on behalf of the Boyle family against the city of Fountain and officers Corey and Alvarez.
Corey and Alvarez were placed on administrative leave following the shooting per department policy. The Fountain Police Department said that both officers were no longer on leave and still with the department.
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