BRIGHTON — A review of the officer-involved shooting of escaped convict Ryan Schenk on Jan. 13 found that the officers involved were justified in their use of force.
That pronouncement came in a letter from 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young’s office, dated April 21, to Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr, Commerce City Police Chief Troy Smith and Colorado State Patrol Col. Scott Hernandez, which detailed the results of the D.A. office’s inquiry into the incident.
Schenck was shot in his left leg after 2:30 a.m. Jan. 13 after firing at a group of officers consisting of Colorado State Trooper Daniel Fiallo, Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Skyler Vonfeldt and Commerce City Police Officer David Coleman.
According to law enforcement officials, Schenk had been driving a blue Mazda earlier that night that crashed into the center barrier after driving in the eastbound lanes along Interstate 270. A tow truck driver had stopped to assist Schenk, who told the driver he was on parole and didn’t have a license to drive. Schenk offered to pay the tow truck driver $600 to get his car towed without calling the police.
Deputy Vonfeldt was the first to arrive as the tow truck driver had managed to keep Schenk at the scene by saying he was waiting for a second tow truck to block traffic on the highway. Shortly thereafter, Trooper Fiallo arrived and was briefed on the situation by Vonfeldt; Officer Coleman arrived shortly after Fiallo’s arrival.
Coleman approached the driver’s side of the tow truck and asked Schenk — seated in the passenger side — to step out. Schenk proceeded to exit the truck and ran down eastbound I-270 before jumping the steel-cable guardrail in the center median and running on the westbound shoulder. At that point, officers said Schenk pointed a handgun in the direction of the officers and fired multiple times.
After being shot while Coleman and Fiallo returned fire, Schenk was taken to Denver Health Center and was treated. He was arrested after he was treated and charged with attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, in addition to multiple other charges.