Sunday, September 15, 2019

DA takes over Thanksgiving Day shooting investigation

Don’t expect a report any time soon

By Mark Reaman

The investigation into the deadly shooting on Highway 135 south of Crested Butte on Thanksgiving Day has shifted from the Seventh Judicial District Critical Incident Investigative Team (CIIT) to the Seventh Judicial District district attorney’s office. DA Dan Hotsenpiller said this week that he and deputy district attorney Jessica Waggoner received a verbal briefing on December 27 from the coordinator of the CIIT team that began investigating the shooting immediately after the incident on November 22. Hotsenpiller said it could be several more weeks or longer before a formal report on the incident is made public.

The incident resulted in the shooting by Colorado State Patrol sergeant Joshua Boden and subsequent death of 59-year-old Patrick Langhoff near mile marker 23 on Highway 135, after the officer responded to a one-vehicle accident that involved Langhoff. Early reports from the CIIT stated that Langhoff “brandished a firearm during the course of the response” and was shot during the late afternoon incident. Langhoff was pronounced dead at the scene.

Since that time the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has not provided any additional information, stating that the incident was still active and information could not be made public.

“The investigator provided numerous reports, several audio interviews and several video recordings related to the incident to us (all in electronic form),” Hotsenpiller explained in an email. “Based on the briefing, our office now has some additional investigation that we believe is necessary, and we will have at least three individuals in this office (myself, DDA Waggoner and at least one Investigator) review all the materials. In addition, we may consult experts and we will, at a minimum, have an internal conference to discuss any issues raised in the case. Thereafter, we will generate a written report or will otherwise advise the family of the deceased individual, the officer involved and the press of our decision on how to move forward.”

Hotsenpiller said while the CIIT has concluded its gathering of information, the investigation is not over. “It does not mean that the CIIT members may not help with the additional investigation,” he explained. “It’s an all hands on deck kind of thing. As we identify tasks, we ask: Who is the best person for the task? And, who is available? If that is a DA Investigator, great. If it is a CIIT member, great.”

Hotsenpiller said that since the matter is a criminal investigation, he is not at liberty to release further details.

“Realistically, this process will take at least several weeks,” said Hotsenpiller. “There is no ‘normal’ time for a CIIT investigation. We are certainly aware of the interest by many in a quick resolution and full exposition of the facts, including Mr. Langhoff’s family, the involved officer, the State Patrol, the press and the public. The competing interest, of course, is that we must take this seriously and fully examine the issues and facts, and make considered findings.”

Colorado State Patrol spokesman Josh Lewis said sergeant Boden remains on paid administrative leave while the investigation is continuing.

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