In The News

Three Bullets to the Back — The Killing of Zachary Gifford by Two Law Enforcement Officers From the Kiowa County Colorado Sheriff’s Department

We have been asked to represent Zach Gifford’s loving and grieving family in response to his horrifying law enforcement killing, as he was harmlessly running away. Zach was shot in the back not once, not twice, but three times by Undersheriff Tracy Weisenhorn and Deputy Quentin Stump on April 9, 2020. He was shot at a total of 4 times.


Before that he had been patted down with no gun found on him. He was unarmed.


Zach was a handyman and had tools on his person that were not even confiscated. At the time he was killed, Zach was at most suspected of a minor misdemeanor non violent crime of drug possession.


Zach was also a beloved, loving and talented member of the Eads, Colorado community. His parents, Larry and Carla, both taught in Eads for many years, were pillars of that community and very active in its civil life. They are also law abiding people of faith. Zach also had two brothers and was a much loved uncle. Like far too many others across the country, this family is now permanently haunted that this was done to Zach by officers of the law for no good or sufficient reasons — this time in rural Eastern Colorado.

At the time he was killed, Zach was not only unarmed but running away from the officers in a large empty field in the ghost town town called Brandon. He was not an imminent threat to anyone as he was repeatedly shot in the back over a 20 second sequence. The last shot was from 24 yards away. During all this shooting Zach was not trying to encounter the officers at all.


The attached detailed news report is a sad and close account of this grim and tragic fatal abuse of police power.


The Supreme Court since Tennessee v Garner has prohibited rogue shootings in the back like this, holding clearly that it is not better that fleeing suspects die than that they escape arrest.

One of the officers has recently been charged with two counts of attempted homicide and felony assault with a deadly weapon. Such charges are not common, as protests across our country attest. We will be seeking civil redress against the officers and Kiowa County for this extreme excessive force killing of this young man in the prime of his life.

Additional press articles can be read here and here.