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Man shot and killed by Boulder police Thursday night had active warrants for domestic violence, police say

36-year-old Christopher Swagner had felony warrants out for his arrest from Bouler and Adams County
Posted at 6:40 AM, May 26, 2023

BOULDER, Colo. — A man shot dead by Boulder Police Department officers late Thursday night had felony warrants for domestic violence, officials revealed during a news conference Friday.

Dispatch received a call from a woman at around 9:40 p.m. Thursday who told first responders she was afraid for her life. The woman told dispatch she had been a previous romantic relationship with the suspect.

The suspect – identified as 36-year-old Christopher Swanger – had been calling her Thursday, saying he was going to come over to her house. Swagner was known to carry a firearm, according to police.

In a news conference Friday, Boulder Chief of Police Maris Herold revealed Swanger had active felony warrants for his arrest in both Boulder and Adams County for domestic violence and other related charges, though she did not say what those other charges were.

One of the charges in the city of Boulder stemmed “from at least one previous incident” with the woman at her home, Herold said.

The chief said the first responding officer arrived at the scene at approximately 10 o’clock in the evening and interviewed the woman, who told the officer Swanger was supposed to arrive at her home between 10 and 10:30 p.m.

Swanger eventually arrived and “there was a very brief confrontation with the suspect” before one officer with the Boulder Police Department deployed a Taser to subdue him, which Herold said “was partially effective.”

Herold said seconds later, the suspect pulled a 9mm gun at which point two Boulder officers fired their guns, striking the suspect.

Swanger died at the scene. No officers were injured.

Boulder police provide update on officer shooting in which domestic violence suspect was killed

“The use of deadly force is something no officer wants to do or engage in,” Herold said. “The taking of life is the most serious action an officer can take and it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

The Critical Incident Response Team is now conducting an investigation. It will then turn over its findings into the 20th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Per department policy, the officers will be placed on paid, administrative leave.

Though she regretted the fact that the officers had to fire their weapons, Herold said there's no reason to believe “this was anything other than a tragic, but justifiable shooting based on the facts as we know them now.”

Herold and other law enforcement officials encourage anyone experiencing domestic abuse to reach out the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence or the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley.

A large police presence remained on Baseline Road near 17th St. in Boulder Friday morning, blocking a road to Chautauqua Park for several hours.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available through Violence Free Colorado or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

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