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Trooper Shane Gosnell

Colorado State Patrol, CO

On May 8, 2014, Troopers Eugene Hofacker and Shane Gosnell were riding together on patrol when they came upon an apparently disabled vehicle on the shoulder of the interstate. Trooper Hofacker approached the passenger side of the disabled vehicle in order to speak to the driver, while Trooper Gosnell remained in the patrol car and called into the dispatcher. As Trooper Hofacker approached the car, the occupant who was seated in the driver’s seat leaned across the car and rolled down the passenger window. Trooper Gosnell then exited the patrol car and as he approached the disabled vehicle, he could hear that the driver who was being uncooperative. Trooper Hofacker signaled to him that he believed the subject to be intoxicated.

Trooper Hofacker moved to the driver side door and obtained the driver’s information, which he provided to Trooper Gosnell who then returned and stood outside the patrol car as he ran a clearance. Trooper Hofacker then attempted to get the driver to exit the vehicle and move to the rear of his car with the intent of conducting roadside evaluations.

As Trooper Gosnell stood to the rear of the patrol car, he was forced to turn his back to Trooper Hofacker and the subject in an effort to shield his collar microphone from the wind noise. During this time, Trooper Hofacker continued to give directions to the subject who had remained in his car and was beginning to make furtive movements with his hands. Trooper Hofacker had become concerned enough that he un-holstered his sidearm and held it to his side, out of the subject’s sight.

While Trooper Hofacker was ordering the driver to show his hands, the driver again turned in the seat so that his hands were hidden. He then spun back towards Trooper Hofacker and fired a 9 mm handgun. Trooper Hofacker later advised that he hadn’t seen the weapon, but heard the shots and knew he had been hit. As he retreated, the driver exited the car and followed him, all the time shooting in rapid succession. In total the subject fired seven times, striking Trooper Hofacker four times, all in areas unprotected by his ballistic vest. One round entered his pelvis area and damaged his femoral artery. This was the most serious of the wounds and was immediately life threatening due to blood loss. Two rounds went into his calf and one round impacted his right elbow, causing an injury that would not allow him to raise his weapon and return fire.

In this sudden exchange, Trooper Hofacker used his left hand in an unsuccessful attempt to employ his Taser. He was able to retreat to a point between to the two vehicles before collapsing. Trooper Gosnell, hearing the shots, turned and saw the subject advancing on Trooper Hofacker. Trooper Gosnell immediately returned fire and during the exchange Trooper Hofacker was able to move to the rear of the patrol vehicle.

Advancing from a position of cover, Trooper Gosnell returned fire, sticking the suspect with 11 of the 14 rounds that he fired, before the suspect finally dropped to the ground, fatally wounded, and ending the attack. With the threat now eliminated, both troopers remained calm, and together, with the assistance of other responding personnel, implemented emergency treatment that would be instrumental in saving the life of Trooper Hofacker.