Two Castle Rock police officers who shot a man who was armed with a knife were legally justified in their use of force, according to an investigation of the incident.
On Dec. 8, officers James Dinges and Luke Godfrey shot James Earl Woodall in the 1500 block of Short Grass Court when they responded to a domestic violence incident, according to an investigative decision letter from the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office to Police Chief Jack Cauley.
The officers, based on a 911 call, had been told that Woodall was armed with a handgun. Shortly after police arrived, at about 9:40 p.m., Woodall appeared in a driveway with a knife in his hand. From a distance, and in the dark, the officers believed the weapon was a handgun, according to the investigative report.
Woodall, who was described as “animated” and “aggressive,” refused police commands to drop the weapon and show his hands, the report said. Dinges fired a Colt M4 rifle and Godfrey a Remington 870 shotgun.
Woodall dropped to the ground and was handcuffed. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he underwent at least two surgeries and was released several months later, according to the decision letter. He was shot in the abdomen, an arm and his hip.
“The use of force, including the use of the rifle and less lethal shotgun, was reasonable, necessary, and appropriate in order for the officers to defend themselves and others from the threat posed by Mr. Woodall,” according to the decision letter, signed by Chief Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham and dated Monday.
Woodall has been charged with one count of third-degree assault and one count of criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. A court hearing is scheduled on May 3.
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