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Exclusive: Girlfriend of Pueblo man fatally shot by police says police gave false information about shooting

Pueblo ois girlfriend graphic

A young mother is alleging that Pueblo police gave out false information regarding the officer involved shooting that left her boyfriend dead over the weekend.

Police say that 24-year-old Estevon Cruz fired a weapon at four officers who were responding to a domestic violence report at his home Saturday evening. That weapon turned out to be a CO2 powered pellet gun.

Cruz's girlfriend, 22-year old Courtney Piper, spoke to KRDO in an exclusive interview Tuesday. Piper says she was inside their home on the 3200 block of Rex Street when shots rang out.

“It keeps playing over and over again in my head,” Piper told us. “I kept telling them [the gun] is not real, it's not real, it’s not real, it’s not loaded. They just kept shooting and shooting.”

Piper is referring to the pellet gun Cruz allegedly pointed at and shot officers with.

Piper says she and Cruz were arguing about random things earlier in the night after he picked her up from her mother's home. Things got heated, but Piper says she never felt like she was ever in danger.

She isn't certain how police were called.

“I think it was the panic button on my iPhone," she says. "There was kind of a scuffle for my phone, and I think the panic button was hit. Then 911 was called.”

From that 911 call Pueblo Police said they heard threats being made by a male party towards a female.

When Pueblo Police arrived at their south side home and knocked on the front door, Piper says she and Cruz were in the process of going to bed. Initially, they were unaware who was at the door until Police notified who they were and that they were coming inside.

On Monday, Pueblo Police said they heard threats being made inside of the home by the male -- even threats to take the woman hostage. Police said that when the officers breached the door, a woman fled the home. Piper says that's not true.

“I was carried out of the house. I did not run out of the house. I was carried because I refused to leave him. I wanted to be by him and see if he was okay," said Piper. "I can’t imagine him saying 'I’m going to take you as a hostage'. That wasn't like him at all.”

When asked if she saw Cruz point a weapon and fire at officers, she says she doesn't know. Piper says she was taken into the kitchen away from Cruz when Pueblo police started firing. However, Piper was aware of the CO2 pellet gun in their bedroom.

In a statement to KRDO, Pueblo police stood by their Monday report. They say audio from the 911 call and body cameras back their version of events. So far, neither audio nor body camera footage have been released to public.

Less than 72 hours after the fatal shooting, Piper has found it difficult to sleep. The young mother distracts herself with her and Cruz's 2-year-old daughter.

She says she has received threats on social media since the shooting. She says some people accuse Cruz of being a 'wife beater', while others accuse Piper of causing Cruz's death.

“He wasn’t a wife beater. He was a good father. He was a good boyfriend," she said. "He was ready to make better steps in his life than he had before. He wanted to be a family man.”

Discrepancies may be cleared up if the 911 call and body camera video are released. However, Pueblo police tell KRDO it may take months before they're released to the public.

The four Pueblo police officers involved in Saturday's fatal shooting have been put on administrative leave. The 10th Judicial District Critical Incident team is investigating the case.

Pueblo / State & Regional News

Dan Beedie

Dan is a bureau reporter based out of Pueblo. Learn more about Dan here.

Comments

12 Comments

  1. The girlfriend’s account sounds typical of a person in an abusive relationship who will defend their partner regardless of what’s being done to them, and who is currently in denial. I suspect the evidence from the 911 call and body-cam footage will straighten out what really happened when made public.
    And I hope she can get some help. Even though that relationship is obviously over, people who have been in such relationships most often end up in similar ones in the future, unless they agree to be helped.

  2. Pueblo police tell KRDO it may take months before they’re released to the public.

    It takes time and careful editing before it is viewable by an easily disturbed and offended public.

  3. She says she didn’t see if he pointed a gun at the officers or not. But then she also is yelling “I kept telling them [the gun] is not real, it’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not loaded. They just kept shooting and shooting.” Having a hard time telling the truth?

    And you can yell that it’s not real all you want. If it looks like a gun, and it gets pointed at the cops, they are gonna unload on you. That’s just how it works!

    Good job Pueblo PD, thanks for cleaning up the streets!

    1. And if nothing is in your hand and you choose to run you still get shot. Guess an honest thug just can’t win anymore.

  4. Typical police response…shoot first shoot second and if anyone is left ask a question or two….and people wonder WHY the public HATES the P.D. so much……well duh!!!

    1. The public doesn’t hate the P.D., only the criminals do. Well, at least one less criminal now than used to hate the P.D.

    2. You should request a ride along and see first hand how police operate. They are not blood thirsty killers who are looking for any chance to shoot someone. They have families also to go home to. The response was appropriate for the circumstances. If you are not a criminal then you should have no issues with the people who are out making sure you stay safe.

  5. “He was ready to make better steps in his life than he had before. He wanted to be a family man.”
    There is the key statement. If you look carefully it is an admission he was doing bad things and that things needed to change. He wasn’t changing he was “ready to make better steps”. Unless you are making those steps it is meaningless. It is sad how some people get into abusive relationships and defend their partner as if it is not their fault. Still even when he is dead she is standing up for the dirt bag woman beater. No man in his right mind would go grab a gun(bb, 22 or otherwise)when police announce themselves and come in. If it was all just a mistake then it would of been easy to just show them everything is fine.

  6. I’m sure it is one of the Universe’s great mysteries as to how her phone dialed 911….
    There is no mystery regarding what happens when you point a firearm at the police.

Comments are closed.