Avon shooting: Las Vegas man dies after taking fire from officer in Avon Walgreens parking lot
A Las Vegas man was killed in a law enforcement shooting after brandishing a gun when he climbed out of the cab of a rental truck during a traffic stop Thursday evening.
Both a witness and law enforcement said that Alvern Donell Walker, 58, was shot after he ignored several attempts to get him to put down the gun. When he refused and pointed at himself, toward the person in the truck with him and toward law enforcement officers, he was shot.
“It’s believed law enforcement – Colorado State Patrol, Avon Police Department, and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office – made ongoing attempts to negotiate with the man, in addition to the use of less-lethal techniques being deployed,” the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said in its initial statement released Friday afternoon.
Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis confirmed Friday morning that Walker had died of his injuries. Bettis declined further comment about the cause or time of death, pending an autopsy.
What police and witnesses say happened
A Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled over an eastbound U-Haul truck for a traffic violation around 8:15 p.m. Thursday. The U-Haul driver pulled off Interstate 70 and into the first place that could accommodate a truck pulling a car trailer, the Walgreens parking lot just off the eastbound Avon exit, according to Preston Neill, Avon’s deputy town manager and public information officer.
Christopher Dehart was headed into Walgreens to get a money order to pay his rent when it happened.
At first, there were just a couple of police cars at the scene, but soon the store was surrounded by police vehicles, DeHart said.
When the U-Haul truck stopped, Walker climbed out of the truck’s passenger side door and was waving the gun around as police stood there patiently telling him to put the gun down, DeHart said.
The driver exited the U-Haul truck as Walker shouted at the driver not to believe the police.
As Walker was waving the gun around, he pointed it toward the officers and others nearby and that’s when he was shot, DeHart said.
Walker was transported to Vail Health with a gunshot wound, where he was later pronounced dead, the CBI said.
DeHart, 20, moved to the valley from Pensacola, Florida, three weeks ago. He lives in Avon and works in local restaurants.
No members of law enforcement were injured during the incident, the CBI said.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gary Cutler, a CSP public information officer said.
The State Patrol’s standards and protocols are the same every time they investigate a shooting incident. They do not change with the outcome of the incident, in this case Walker’s death, Cutler said. Teams of investigators called “shoot teams” from a “multitude of agencies” handle these investigations, Cutler said. Different investigations are led by members of different agencies.
“That helps reduce the possibilities of bias in an investigation,” Cutler explained.
The names of the law enforcement officers involved are not yet being released, Cutler said. They also did not release the reason the U-Haul truck was pulled over.
Avon Police and the Colorado State Patrol closed Avon Road at 8:44 p.m.
Four minutes later, an alert went out that there was police activity at Walgreens in Avon, and advised people to avoid the area. Motorists getting off at the Avon exit were sent back to the next exit east.
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Some local law enforcement don’t like the red flag gun law, but they’re still learning how to enforce it if they have to.