Colorado Springs police identify officers involved in Saturday's fatal shooting

By Liz Forster Updated: December 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm • Published: December 7, 2017
photo - Man shot and killed by police officer in south Colorado Springs (Liz Forster, The Gazette)
Man shot and killed by police officer in south Colorado Springs (Liz Forster, The Gazette)

Police have identified the two officers who shot and killed a suspect while trying to arrest him Saturday night south of downtown Colorado Springs.

Officers Christopher Fernandes and Tracy Toth shot Christopher Louis Willard, 33, when he resisted arrest about 6 p.m. near South Nevada Avenue and East Navajo Street, police said. Willard drew what later was determined to be a BB gun and pointed it at the officers, investigators said.

Willard died at a local hospital. The officers, who were treated for minor injuries, are expected to return to duty soon, police spokesman Lt. Howard Black said. Fernandes and Toth were placed on leave immediately after the shooting as required by city policy.

Willard was wanted on suspicion of misdemeanor theft after he and another man allegedly stole a package off a front porch Aug. 18 near North Circle Drive and Palmer Park Boulevard, records show. A warrant was issued for his arrest Nov. 22 after he failed to appear in court. The package contained automotive paint worth about $300, Gazette news partner KKTV reported.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting in accordance with Colorado law, which requires that officer-involved shootings resulting in injury or death be reviewed by a neutral agency.

Body-worn camera footage "has been retrieved, preserved and is being reviewed," the Sheriff's Office said.

Fernandes has been with the Police Department since April 2014; Toth joined in March 2015.

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