Video Shows Knife-Wielding Suspect Shot By Deputies, But Was It A Good Shoot?

Image via YouTube.

Sheriff’s deputies in Fort Morgan, Colorado shot and killed a reportedly suicidal homicide suspect in a Walmart parking lot in June. Just released video of the incident shows the lawmen lighting up Dustin Montano – even before he emerged from his car. Unfortunately, the video will likely raise questions about how deputies handled the situation.

The video shows quite the chaotic scene. Deputies issued conflicting commands. One deputy nearest the camera with his finger on the trigger screams “DON’T MOVE!  DO NOT MOVE!” Meanwhile, another deputy shouts “HANDS UP!”

Moments later, as the suspect still sits in the car, the same deputy who ordered him to “DO NOT MOVE!” now shouts “GET YOUR HANDS UP NOW!”

Video Shows Knife-Wielding Suspect Shot By Deputies, But Was It A Good Shoot?

The suspect opens his door and raises his hands when the first deputy – the one with his finger on the trigger – fires a single round.  He pauses, then shouts “God dammit!”

Video Shows Knife-Wielding Suspect Shot By Deputies, But Was It A Good Shoot?

That same deputy later reported firing when he thought the suspect had a gun in his right hand when he opened the car door. And the lawman had good reason to believe that bad guy might have had a gun. The suspect liked guns as evidenced by Montano’s GooglePlus profile photo. That’s Dustin Montano on the right in the photo above.

Moments later, the same deputy fires the second of four shots as the suspect comes out of the car raising his hands over his head. At least one other also opens up while they scream for Montano to drop the knife. Mr. Montano continued raising his hands – and holding the knife – while twirling like a ballerina as he soaked up hits.  And then he collapsed.

Thankfully, the marksmanship from the deputies proved exemplary, hitting Montano with seven of eight rounds fired. The last round perforated the Volkswagen Jetta. No bystanders were wounded. On the other hand, Montano did not fare so well. He died the next day from his injuries.

From the YouTube video explanation:

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has released more details about a fatal officer-involved shooting outside of the Fort Morgan Walmart involving a man wanted for stabbing his aunt and cousin to death in New Mexico. Dustin Montano, 31, was leaving the store at 13000 Barlow Road at about 8 a.m. on May 24 when he was confronted and shot seven times by the Morgan County sheriff and undersheriff. He died on May 25 after being flown by helicopter to Medical Center of the Rockies for care. Leading up to the shooting, the sheriff’s office had received information about a stolen red Volkswagen Jetta driven by Montano that was possibly traveling to the Fort Morgan area. A short time later, dispatchers received information that the suspect’s cell phone had been pinged at locations in Morgan County. At about 7:30 a.m., the Jetta was found parked and empty at Walmart.

Deputy Steve Berlanga parked a short distance away in his marked car to monitor the vehicle, while Undersheriff Dave Martin parked nearby in an unmarked vehicle with a clear view of the Jetta. Sheriff Jim Crone, also in an unmarked car, parked on the south side of the building where the view of the Jetta was limited, the sheriff’s office said. At some point, the decision was made between Undersheriff Martin and Sheriff Crone to try to arrest Montano when he returned to the car. Undersheriff Martin was the first to spot Montano walking back to the Jetta. Deputies say he was carrying a grocery bag in his hand, but no weapon was visible. Undersheriff Martin started driving toward the driver’s side of the car, while Sheriff Crone drove up to the rear and parked behind the Jetta.

CSP Trooper Ryan Eldridge, Cpl. Ken Nelson and Deputy Berlanga followed nearby and pulled up facing the car near Undersheriff Martin, the sheriff’s office said. While Montano was still outside of the vehicle, Undersheriff Martin and Sheriff Crone got out of their vehicles and identified themselves as “police officers” and yelled “don’t move” at Montano, according to the sheriff’s office. Montano then got into the Jetta, slammed the door and started directing his attention to the front passenger seat area – leading Sheriff Crone to believe Montano would start the car and ram his patrol vehicle in an attempt to escape, the sheriff’s office said. Seconds later, the driver’s door to the Jetta flew open and Montano began to leave the car. The sheriff’s office said the suspect’s right hand came out of the car first, and both Undersheriff Martin and Sheriff Crone believed he was holding what appeared to be a handgun.

That’s when Undersheriff Martin and Sheriff Crone fired multiple shots at the suspect who then fell to the ground. In total, seven of the eight rounds fired hit Montano, and the other bullet hit the Jetta, the sheriff’s office said. Despite several surgeries, Montano died from his injuries. The object in Montano’s hand fell to the pavement and was discovered to be a black lock-blade knife with the blade open. Hours before Montano was shot, Albuquerque police investigators determined that Montano had used that knife in the stabbing deaths of his 53-year-old aunt, Debra Martinez and her 17-year-old daughter, Irisa Montano.

Obviously, most of America probably will not lose a lot of sleep over the death of a double-murderer. However, that doesn’t mean some ambulance-chasing land shark won’t seek damages in a wrongful death legal action. No doubt a lawyer of questionable integrity will note the bullet wounds in the suspect’s back as evidence of wrongdoing by cops.

It also shows the importance of keeping one’s finger off the trigger until the decision to fire has been made. Especially when standing in front of a high-resolution video camera.

comments

  1. avatar Centuriator says:

    So, the guy had killed two people before he was stopped and got out of his vehicle wielding the same weapon he used to kill those people.

    Seems like the tax payers caught a break.

    1. avatar CliffH says:

      When will this sort of travesty end?

      Those helicopters and Emergency Room surgeons don’t come cheap!

      American police (and Sheriff’s) need to get more target practice so this stops happening.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        “Those helicopters and Emergency Room surgeons don’t come cheap!”

        No, they don’t. The chopper ride alone was likely over 20 grand.

        But they were a *lot* cheaper than the cost of just getting that idiot into a cell in a state prison…

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Target practice, my ass. They hit him 7 of 8, aim was good enough. I wanna know what brand and caliber of ammo they were using, because it’s piss poor and I don’t want to accidentally pay money for any of it. This is supposed to be the truth about GUNS, not cops and robbers, the important facts not included in the article all concern the ammo.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yeah, I would have led with that part of the story. In the beginning of post it sounded like a case where the police were called for a suicidal suspect (only). The fact that he’s a homicide suspect- in a stabbing, no less- is pertinent to escalation of force. Still sounds like a cluster, though.

      1. avatar BC says:

        Yeah, the article is definitely written with a bit of a slant.

        What I see is the first cop take his finger off the trigger, then back on as the subject starts to exit. The dash cam has a blocked view that he doesn’t. The “goddammit” after his first shot I took more as a “why did he have to bring a weapon”. In other words, “goddammit I didn’t want to shoot you, but you forced my hand” rather than “goddammit I wish I’d trained better and not just popped one off accidentally”. And he had the presence of mind to ask if people around were okay immediately after the shooting. I don’t see this guy as being jumpy.

        We’ll never know if the guy was trying to surrender, but how hard is it to just drop the knife if that’s what your goal is? I think cops in general are too quick to shoot because its ingrained that “you go home at any cost.”

        But they definitely have to work on who is in charge of communicating commands. Typical, but trainable.

        1. avatar CZJay says:

          You would think after all these decades they would have already implemented training to teach cops how to communicate and work together. It’s not a new lesson they just learned a few months back. But who are we to tell the government how to operate?

  2. avatar GapharmD says:

    Good shoot! But no doubt gonna be howlers and screamers about how he was giving up and was killed. But…. maybe not, I mean… he wasn’t black so no sjw drama

    1. avatar bryan1980 says:

      Yeah, this doesn’t fit the narrative for the fake news orgs, so there will be little outrage over this shooting.

  3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

    I’m not crying over this guy getting wasted but it seems like some lessons can be taken, because to me it felt like that first shot was an ND. A smaller point is that it seemed like the guy was far enough away to not be an immediate threat… but on that I’ll defer to the cops’ judgment as it can be tough to judge distance on a video like this.

    My main concern is as always that the uniformed civilians need to be maybe a little more reluctant to shoot the non-uniformed civilians.

  4. avatar Mister Furious says:

    Terrible shoot; if you’re that twitchy and terrified you’ve got no business being a cop.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Got to be in control of your emotions and your trigger finger. In other words, a professional.

    2. avatar Larry says:

      Really????

      They repeatedly tell him to don’t move. He closes the door and makes motion to the front passenger seat….grabbing his lunch….or maybe a gun? You know is this stolen car after murdering two people and posting pictures of his gangster gun love.

      The door opens and his hand comes out with what two cops thought was a gun. Well it was only the knife he recently used to kill two people. After he is shot he does not drop it but holds onto it.

      I would have done the same. Clean shoot, and society has one less idiot to deal with.

  5. avatar RayS says:

    Problem is, did the officers have that background. If so, theres reason to be extra cautious. If not, not good. And the officers reaction to the 1st shot sounds like a neg discharge.

  6. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Good shoot. Another dirt bag we don’t have to pay for.

    However, when you touch off a round then yell “God Damnit!”… it probably isn’t going to go over very well if this does go to court.

  7. avatar jwm says:

    He was a gun lover until it was time to actually do murder. Or was that just a posed photo with some one else’s gun.

    A man that is willing to knife his own family is a dangerous mofo that needs shooting.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      History shows that most men were willing to cut up another human. Killing family was also not that hard if it meant positive consequences. In some countries people still kill their daughters for bringing shame to the family.

  8. avatar Gabe says:

    Curious about something. The officer closest to camera and the officer to his immediate left are using their support hand index finger to grip the front of the trigger guard. Is this being taught? Seeing two officers do it suggests that it is being trained.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Older guys who use Glocks like to do that. Not sure if they were taught that many years ago or they just got used to the Glock frame allowing such a grip. Or maybe they watched a lot of Nutnfancy videos. Either way, that one cop is badly trained and doesn’t understand what he is doing.

  9. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

    Ah what the hell. It was good enough.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Git ‘er done!

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      “It was good enough”

      Hard to argue against that, even if it was an ND that started it.

  10. avatar CZJay says:

    I’m conflicted…

    What I really didn’t like was the old guy with a Glock having his finger on the trigger while pointing his gun at the target. I have seen people unintentionally murdered during a robbery because the idiot had his finger on that Glock trigger and was struggling to get the purse from a lady who wasn’t having it. You saw how the cop flinch fired a round off when he saw the knife. So, technically, it was a bad shoot that will be justified because he had a knife.

    I saw a shooting of a murder suspect in California where the suspect fired at police and FBI using a revolver. They returned fire with pistols, ARs and a shotgun. It appears after he went down a LAPD cop transitioned to his pistol and unloaded on the incapacitated offender. It went from a good shoot to emotional overkill [22 rounds]. The suspect was clearly no longer a threat, but they had to make sure he died because he shot at police. Similar to that Baltimore shooting where they unloaded and reloaded when clearly the guy was down.

    A good shoot and a justified shoot are different things.

  11. avatar 16V says:

    As usual, the directly conflicting demands worked as designed, providing legal cover for whichever one (or all) of the twitchy ‘cops’ decided to shoot. Fortunately, they were all able to meet with their union reps, and get their story straight before they talked to IA.

    They all took a few paid days off, and spent time relaxing with their families.

    This guy may have been a worthless piece of trash, but the sad excuses for cops are no better. Our ex-mil guys will tell you all about what would happen to you if you killed someone under those circumstances.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      I get the impression the conflicting commands must be a policy or doctrine to ensure a lethal response. And any effort from the accused to clarify the commands will be met with “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”

      1. avatar Sprocket says:

        Yep. Watching videos of various shootings I’ve come to the conclusion that once the cops start telling you to do several different versions of the hokey pokey, they’re setting you up to kill you. If I’m ever in in that situation I plan on not doing a fucking thing except holding my hands over my head. If nothing else my family will get rich from the lawsuit.

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Exactly. We’ve seen this all before. So much so, it’s becoming a routine.

  12. avatar Mr Lizard says:

    “seven of the eight rounds fired hit Montano”

    That’s like 517% better than the NYPD

  13. avatar Don from CT says:

    Not even freaking close to a clean shot. He was plain and simply MURDERED!!!!!!

    He was fully complying with the officers commands. Hands up, getting out of the car. Just like they yelled for him to do.

    Trigger happy F*&cks!!

    1. avatar What would Spock say says:

      Have to agree. Bad guy so overall I’m not gonna shed any tears but wtf guys. Horrendous shoot. Reminds me of that NM homeless guy getting shot surrounded by cops decked out in riot gear wielding ARs because he was 50 ft away with a 2in pocket knife. At least these meatballs didn’t sic the dog on him while he was bleeding out.

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        At least these meatballs didn’t sic the dog on him while he was bleeding out.

        1. avatar What would Spock say says:

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp0de7N-V8o

          Ha I meant this one. Though yours is interesting wish the camera holding dinkus didn’t pan up during actual shoot. Watch as these jackasses shoot him full of holes then fire less lethal bean bags at his ass. And of course the dog. Albuquerque’s finest cowards/idiots.

        2. avatar RMS1911 says:

          Look at all those terrified pvssies scared of a bullet riddled corpse. But the real crime is the assat panning up at the buildings.that is unacceptable and he should be castrated, disemboweled then set on fire.

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Next time they come across double stabbing homicide man, they’ll be sure to simply direct the gentlemen to your house, where you can give him all the tender love and care he truly deserves.

  14. avatar rosignol says:

    The department needs to work on teamwork in multiple-officers-present situations.

    Beyond that…. I hope the forensics people can confirm the deceased committed the murders- if he’s not, there’s a murderer on the loose, and an innocent man is dead- but that seems unlikely.

  15. avatar skiff says:

    Hands up by one officer, don’t move by another officer. These are contradictory commands.

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      That’s by design

  16. avatar Nickel Plated says:

    Is a knife really that immediate of a threat if you’re taking cover behind a car? If the guy tries to come at you, you circle around the car to keep it between you and the attacker. That will buy a couple seconds until you or someone can get a taser or other less lethal means into action.

    Likely the guy WAS going to try to attack them, but still seemed like the cop was too eager on the trigger.

  17. avatar Red in CO says:

    So a cop has an ND into a suspect (highly unlikely he wasn’t guilty, mind you, but at the time of this shooting he was still just a suspect) then seems to mentally shrug and say “fuck it”, and kills the scumbag. I won’t shed any tears for the dead guy, but this is messed up on several levels, and yet more evidence that cops are basically extra-judicial death squads for all the accountability they have.

    I don’t have a problem with this man being executed, but I do VERY MUCH have a problem with agents of the state executing someone without a damn good reason. “We’re pretty sure he’s a bad guy and he has a small knife inside his car” doesn’t cut it.

  18. avatar GS650G says:

    Glad the killer was killed. But the cops were not in imminent danger. They outnumbered and outgunned him , he had no escape. One man should have taken charge and issues orders.
    I see this as a bad shoot despite feeling relieved justice was done.

    They should have got him before he made it to the car. Less chance of a weapon and he would have no cover nor a vehicle to escape.
    If I was a juror that’s how I would see it.

  19. avatar Arandom Dude says:

    Conflicting commands being issued is a serious problem. The fact that the first shot seems like it might have been an ND is a serious problem. Not a good shoot, but luckily the guy was a dirtbag.

  20. avatar VicRattlehead says:

    My first reaction to watching the video was ‘terrible shoot’ but after watching it a few more times the dirt bag shuts the car door while being screamed at (hiding his actions? Going for a weapon? Trying to run?) and then the door comes flying open. Given that you can clearly see a knife in his hand as he’s doing his little ‘pirouette of death’, gotta say the shooting was justified, unless a different camera angle shows something to the contrary, and the closest officers outburst was most likely a ‘crap, this is going sideways’ response.

  21. avatar MLee says:

    I’m not a GLOCK fan but that officers weapon looks to be spitting out .45s
    “I like the way you die boy”

  22. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    The guy exits the car knife in hand. A known to the cops killer. An officer within lunging distance. 1st cop flinches and shoots. Then unloads 7 more shots.
    A bit of overkill. But tell that to the officer in the middle closet to the knife.
    Im sure he isn’t complaining.
    Now a ton of taxpayer money will be spent going over the video. The cop who did the shooting should get at the least some desk duty and then fired.

  23. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    Believe it or not there is the rule of law in this country. However, it’s hard to believe that bearing in mind what we see everyday with regard to the political sh*t show in DC.

    The agents of the state have everything tipped in their favor and should be held to a higher standard than us everyday Joe’s.

    Whether or not the guy exiting the car was a double murderer or not, there should always be the presumption of innocence. The video above looks more like an extra judicial execution than a professional arrest attempt of a potentially dangerous person.

    If he had a knife (didn’t see it though), he was still shielded from the (stab vest wearing) officers by both distance and their vehicles. If it was a one on one situation in a darkened alley, perhaps some leeway could be granted. But in these situations where the cops are heavily armed, clad in protective gear, sheltering behind barriers and are present in large numbers, executing someone (after shouting multiple conflicting commands) seems like a bad shoot to me.

    I am a police supporter and believe that generally they do a great job, but I call them out when they do something egregious such as this.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I’d like to address “there should always be presumption of innocence”. Nothing is “always”, if he had got out of the car and cut the throat of the cop in front of him, do you assert the next cop should give him the presumption of innocence, or a prompt mag dump? Once handcuffed and certified disarmed, we can go back to presumption of innocence.

      1. avatar A Brit in TX says:

        Perhaps that’s a little far-fetched or perhaps I didn’t state things clearly enough but in the absence of actually witnessing the individual commit a crime, that individual should be presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

        All this Brett Kavenaugh stuff has got me highly annoyed with the court of public opinion.

    2. avatar ACP_armed says:

      Given he had four cops in front of him with guns drawn, throwing the door open and getting out of the car at the same time doesn’t come off as something you’d do if you don’t want to get shot. But that’s just me.

      If you click on ‘Settings’ (looks like a gear) in the video player and change the speed from ‘normal’ to 0.25 by clicking on ‘normal’ you can see the knife.

  24. avatar Barry Rosenschein says:

    “Thankfully, the marksmanship from the deputies proved exemplary, hitting Montano with seven of eight rounds fired.” Really, the Cop was only a few feet away and had to fire 8 rounds.

  25. avatar Ralph says:

    “In total, seven of the eight rounds fired hit Montano, and the other bullet hit the Jetta”

    Ya gotta feel sorry for the Jetta. It was just turning it’s life around and studying to be a Porsche.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      🙂

  26. avatar Mikial says:

    Looks like justice for the aunt and a 17 year old girl who never even got to begin living her life to me. Good shooting by the LEOs. The only downside is the cost to the department of the helicopter ride.

  27. avatar Ben says:

    Disgraceful this site would use the fact that he posed in pictures wih guns as a way to make him look bad. Dude is scum but there’s nothing wrong with doing that.

  28. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    In Chicago today a cop was convicted of the 2014 murder of a black man (it took 4 years to even get the case to court). The video is almost identical to this one. In Chicago a knife carrying Black Man who did not charge the cop was gunned down and when down on the ground the cop pumped the entire rest of the magazine of 16 shots into him. In this older Chicago case the black man did not drop the knife so he did not comply with the command to drop it but he did not attack the cop either. Now lets look at this new case. Here we have a man who “did” comply with the order to put his hands up and he also did not attack the cops at all. I think the attorney that will probably represent the relatives of the deceased has a very good chance to get a big settlement out of this case. I think the only reason this cop in this new case will not go to jail is that the man had supposedly killed two people but the attorney will argue this is still no justification to act as judge, jury and executioner since the man was not attacking anyone.

  29. avatar anarchyst says:

    It’s the Israeli methods that are part and parcel of American “law enforcement” training. “We are all Palestinians now”…
    The confusing and contradictory commands PROVE that these “law enforcers” intended to murder this guy, which is a similar situation to the guy in the Las Vegas hotel room, crawling on his stomach, commanded to crawl with his arms behind his back, and then murdered for not obeying contradictory commands…WTF?? Of course, the cop got away with outright murder, despite having the words “you’re f#cked engraved on the dust cover of his AR-15…which DOES prove intent.
    Any police officer who cannot disarm a suspect with a knife without resorting to lethal force is in the wrong line of work.
    Problem, it takes too much effort to “do the right thing”
    By nature, police officers are lazy, only waiting for the next “donut run”…

  30. avatar CAPT CURTIS BRIGGS says:

    Pay attention to the facts! The COPS MURDERED this guy before they knew what he was guilty of. No cop was in danger of his small knife, he had not started to move and had his hands over his head. Hard to move with your hands over your head and really stupid to do anything with four guns pointed at you.
    Good lesson for all of us, don’t trust cops to not be trigger happy.

    1. avatar mike hill says:

      @CAPT CURTIS BRIGGS:

      Well said!

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