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El Paso County Sheriff Deputy arrested for misconduct pulled gun on kids over lost phone

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- An El Paso County deputy who works in the jail is the one facing criminal charges after allegedly pulling a gun on minors over a possibly stolen phone.

According to the arrest affidavit, a student at a Colorado Springs school lost her phone during a physical education class at the end of February. That same night, the student and a woman, believed to be her mother, went looking for the phone. The affidavit states they suspected it was stolen.

The location of the phone was pinged to Laura Gilpin Park in northwest Colorado Springs. When they arrived, four teens were at the park. According to the arrest affidavit, the teens claim the woman got out of her car and started running toward them.

The teens said they ran back to their car and drove away. Shortly after, they returned to the park to see what happened. That’s when the four teens claim the mother started chasing them in her car, driving nearly 50 mph through the neighborhood.

The teens were able to lose the car but then a truck blocked their way out of the neighborhood. According to court records, El Paso County Deputy Daniel Garcia stepped out of the truck, pulled out a gun, and ordered the teens out of the car.

Dep. Daniel Garcia, EPCSO

“It was pointed dead at her face,” one of the teens recalled in the arrest affidavit.

At the time, Garcia was off-duty and had a hoodie over his uniform.

“I just didn’t want to get shot because I didn’t know if it was a cop or not at first,” one of the teens said in the arrest affidavit.

Garcia then made all four teens sit on the curb while he called dispatch. According to the court documents, Garcia told the operator he stopped in front of a car “driving like maniacs in a neighborhood” going “a hundred miles per hour.”

He claims the teen “almost hit him” but never mentions pointing his gun at them.

After the call, Garcia lets the teens go.

Shortly after the incident, Garcia called El Paso County Sergeant Lene Lipford and explained what happened, according to the arrest affidavit.

Garcia told Lipford the woman chasing the kids asked him to come to her location. When he arrives, he noticed the car driving fast coming toward him. He claims he blocked the road with his truck and pulled out his gun but “didn’t point it at them.”

In the arrest affidavit, Lipford told Colorado Springs detectives she had concerns with the situation.

“He’s investigating his own crime, he pulled his gun on juveniles and for stealing a cell phone,” Lipford said in the arrest affidavit. “It’s a misdemeanor offense and you’re pulling your gun on them while off duty and you’re still in some form of uniform.”

“He did everything you’re not supposed to do,” Lipford continued.

Nearly three months after the incident, Garcia was arrested and charged with four counts of felony menacing and official misconduct.

Garcia has been with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office since 2013 and is assigned to the Detentions Operation Division. He has been placed on administrative leave. Garcia and his attorney declined to comment.

The Colorado Springs Police Department is investigating the case. Garcia’s next court date for an advisement hearing is scheduled for June 1.

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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