Police Chief Maris Herold speaks to reporters on Friday, May 26, 2023, after two city officers shot and killed a man on the night of Thursday, May 25. Credit: John Herrick

Two City of Boulder police officers shot and killed a man on Thursday night after responding to a domestic violence call near 17th Street and Baseline Road, according to city officials. The fatal shooting is the first since Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold was sworn into office in April 2020. 

“I have no reason to believe that this was anything other than a tragic but justifiable shooting based on the facts as we know them now,” Herold told reporters during a news conference on Friday. 

At 9:40 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, city officials said the dispatch center received a call from a woman who said a man with whom she had a previous relationship — and “who was known to be armed” — was planning to come to her home. The first officer arrived at the scene around 10 p.m., according to city police. The man who was later shot arrived at about 11:16 p.m. 

One officer fired a Taser at the man, Herold said. This “did not completely incapacitate” him, according to Herold. She said the man then pulled a 9mm handgun but didn’t know whether he fired any shots. “We’re still looking at that,” she said. 

Shortly thereafter, two city police officers shot the man. He died on the scene. The Boulder County Coroner’s Office has identified the man as Christopher Swanger, 36. He did not live in Boulder, according to city officials. 

The city has not released the names of the three officers. None were injured and they have been placed on paid administrative leave. 

The fatal shooting is being investigated by the Boulder County Investigation Team, a group of law enforcement officials from other jurisdictions that investigates use-of-force incidents and issues findings on whether the use of force was justified. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty will then take those findings and decide whether to file criminal charges.

City of Boulder police have shot and killed at least five people since 2013, according to media reports and state records. All of those officers have been cleared of wrongdoing, according to records from the District Attorney’s Office

“It’s a tragedy,” Herold said. “It’s a tragedy for this man’s family. It’s a tragedy these officers will never be the same. This victim will never be the same. We’re all tired.”

This is a developing story and may be updated.

John Herrick is senior reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering housing, transportation, policing and local government. He previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for VTDigger.org. He is interested in stories about people, power and fairness. Email: john@boulderreportinglab.org.

Leave a comment

Boulder Reporting Lab comments policy
All comments require an editor's review. BRL reserves the right to delete or turn off comments at any time. Please read our comments policy before commenting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *