May 26 – The man shot dead Friday night by Boulder police officers during a domestic violence call has been identified as 36-year-old Christopher Swanger.
According to a tweet sent just before 2 a.m., Boulder police were called to a home in the 1700 block of Baseline Road for a domestic violence call.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a news conference Friday afternoon that the call came in at about 9:40 p.m. Thursday. A woman feared for her life after Swanger, with whom she had a previous relationship, called and said he would come to her house. He was not from Boulder, but was known to carry a firearm, according to Herold.
Officers were on the scene around 10 p.m. and were already present when Swanger arrived at the woman’s home. After a brief confrontation, Herold said, an officer used a stun gun on Swanger, which was partially successful but did not completely incapacitate him.
Police said Swanger then pulled out a 9-millimeter handgun. Two officers fired their guns at Swanger and he died on the spot.
No other injuries have been reported.
At the time of his death, Swanger had two active warrants for his arrest — one in Adams County for second-degree sexual assault, child abuse, and harassment, and the other in Boulder County for second-degree sexual assault, witness intimidation, and criminal mischief. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of threat with a real or simulated weapon in 2005.
“I have no reason to believe that this was anything other than a tragic but justified shooting, based on the facts as we know them today,” Herold said.
Herold also confirmed that last night’s shooting was the first shooting involving an officer during her time as Boulder police chief. When a reporter asked her what she thought about it, she replied, “It’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for this man’s family… These cops will never be the same. This victim will never be the same. We are all tired , we all worked hard and i’m just glad there were no other casualties related to this incident.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty also attended Friday’s press conference where officials discussed the shooting.
“In my career as a prosecutor over the past 25 years, I have worked time and time again on domestic violence cases, and they so often pose danger and extreme risk not only to the victims but also to the responding police officers,” Dougherty said. .
Dougherty stressed that the investigation into this incident is still in its infancy, but more information will be shared as it becomes available.
The Boulder County Investigation Team will investigate the shooting and both officers will be placed on paid administrative leave per policy. The officer who used the stun gun is also placed on administrative leave.
After the interviews and investigation are complete, the case will be turned over to Dougherty, who will determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.
Boulder police said there is no threat to the public and Baseline Road has reopened following an overnight and Friday morning investigation.
Anyone experiencing domestic violence is encouraged to contact the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (Boulder), the Safe Shelter of the St. Vrain Valley (Longmont), or the police.