Officer's fatal shooting of suspect ruled justified

Michael Kocher held people hostage in an Englewood home in March


Englewood Master Patrol Officer Ryan Kaspar's decision to fire the shot that killed Michael Kocher during a March 3 standoff was ruled justified following a review by the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

The summary of a report signed by Deputy District Attorney Larry Bailey, dated May 12, stated that based on the law and facts in the case, the officer was "justified in using deadly force to defend himself and others."

The six-page report detailed the actions that led to the officer firing the fatal shot in the case that began the afternoon of March 3 when a woman called police and told them Kocher, 32, was threatening to kill her and her friends. According to the report, the woman knew Kocher — he wanted to have a romantic relationship with her, but she turned him down.

"Kocher was into drugs and robberies and she wanted out of that lifestyle," the report states.

Kocher sent the woman a text message that ordered her to meet him at South Bannock Street and West Bates Avenue. Police went to the location and, when Kocher saw police in the area, he ran to the house at 2895 S. Bannock St., kicked in the rear door and ran down the stairs.

The report stated Kocher had a .357-caliber pistol and told the woman he planned to kill the several people who were inside the house.

Police surrounded the house and negotiators talked with Kocher on the phone, trying to convince him to let the hostages go and give himself up. During negotiations, police learned that Kocher had threatened to kill people in the past and that he would rather kill himself than return to prison, the reports says.

"Officers learned that Kocher was former military and was familiar with police tactics," the report states. "Kocher made demands for alcohol and cocaine, and gave deadlines for them to be provided."

As negotiations continued, Kocher became agitated and threatened to kill himself or the people he was holding inside the house. He reportedly told officers if the police didn't move in 90 seconds he would start shooting.

That was when Kaspar, a member of the SWAT team, saw Kocher, who was 6 feet 7 inches tall, standing below the steps in the lower level of the house. The report stated that the man was there with one of the people in the house and when Kocher raised his right arm, Kaspar fired the fatal shot.

It was stated that the toxicology report showed Kocher, who had been dishonorably discharged from the service, had alcohol and cocaine in his blood. The report also stated that Kocher had robbed a liquor store in Denver the night before the standoff and was a suspect in the robbery of a liquor store in Lone Tree.


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