Loveland officer cleared in Pizza Ranch shooting

Posted at 8:07 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 22:07:18-04

A Loveland Police Officer who shot and killed an armed man inside a restaurant was legally justified to do so, an internal review by District Attorney Cliff Riedel determined.

Loveland Police said William Rippley, 45, rushed into the Pizza Ranch on Mountain Lion Drive, armed with knives around 8:00 p.m. Officers tried to evacuate the restaurant, said Sergeant Justin Chase, but Rippley grabbed a customer.

Officer Hines shot him, with two other officers nearby. The customer wasn't hurt, and Rippley died at the hospital.

“The selfless actions of Officer [Jennifer] Hines, and the other officers at the Pizza Ranch, were authorized under Colorado law and very likely prevented the loss of life to innocent civilians and employees who were in the Pizza Ranch restaurant,” said Loveland Chief of Police Luke Hecker.

Rippley had also allegedly visited Golden Corral, where Tiffany Pearson was eating with her family about an hour earlier. She said he was standing right next to her and her 2-month-old son, when he started ranting.

"(He said), 'Attention everybody! I met God tonight and the chief of police drugged me,'" Pearson recounted. "Look at my arm. And showed us his arm. Some lady in the background started laughing, and he was like, 'What, you think that’s funny?'"

Pearson said she saw what appeared to be blood on his arm. She said when restaurant staff told him to leave, he kept talking, with a message even more chilling.

"He was like, 'Nobody's safe. Everybody needs to go home, especially women and children. There's going to be a human sacrifice tonight,'"  she said. "Then he walked out the door."

After that, police were called to the 3400 block of Eisenhower Boulevard when an off-duty officer in the neighborhood said Rippley was allegedly throwing his bike into westbound traffic.

When additional Loveland officers responded, they say the suspect ran from them and into the kitchen of Pizza Ranch at 3451 Mountain Lion Dr.

Pizza Ranch manager Andrew Bloemendaal said the suspect was talking to employees and poked his head into a room where they were counting money.

"Clearly theft was not a motivator," Bloemendaal said. "It's just frightening. Also to hear that he's walking in the back with my employees, most of whom are high school-aged, younger college-aged."

He said staff and customers ran out after Rippley started wielding knives, but one customer was held hostage.

Officer Hines, a 10-year-veteran, was the only officer to fire her weapon during this incident. She is progressing through the return to duty protocol of the Officer-Involved Incident Protocol, according to Detective Gary Patzer

Get breaking news on your phone, download the free 7NEWS app for iPhone/iPads, Android and Kindle. And follow us on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.