Authorities release body camera footage from March 31 police shooting in Craig |

Authorities release body camera footage from March 31 police shooting in Craig

Eli Pace
Craig Press

In body camera footage released Wednesday, April 26, a man who was killed in a police shooting on March 31 in Craig tells an officer he’d rather die than go back to jail.

The footage appears to show Christopher Rothermund, 52, of Craig run from the police officer, brandish a handgun and ignore the officer’s calls to put the weapon down before Rothermund points a gun at the officer and the officer and a Moffat County sheriff’s deputy discharge their weapons.

Three gunshots can be heard in the released footage, which includes more than a minute and a half of body camera video clips from key moments leading up to the shooting. The footage later shows one of the officers removing a handgun from Rothermund’s right hand.

The body camera footage was included in a 5 minute, 38 second “community briefing” video created by the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and Craig Police Department posted Wednesday on the sheriff’s YouTube channel.

In the community briefing, a narrator fills in some context between the clips of body camera footage, which begin with a Craig police officer trying to stop Rothermund inside the Cool Water Grill at 337 W. Victory Way just before 9 a.m. March 31.

In the clips, the police officer approaches Rothermund, who pauses briefly while the officer tells him there is a warrant for his arrest. According to information previously provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Rothermund was wanted on a $100 municipal warrant.

In the video Rothermund walks away from the officer, and then he takes off running as soon as he gets to a door leading outside. The police officer was close behind and reached for Rothermund’s shoulder as he exited the building. However, Rothermund eluded the officer’s grasp and a foot chase ensued out the door and across the street.

The video soon cuts to another clip in which Rothermund is seen in the distance, and the officer has his gun drawn. A caption in the video says that Rothermund “pulls a gun,” and he can be heard yelling at the officer, “Shoot me. Shoot me. I want to die. Shoot me.”

The officer can be heard calling for backup before the narrator comes back into the video.

“During the foot chase Rothermund pulled a handgun,” the narrator says. “The officer told Rothermund to drop the gun and stop several times. Rothermund refused to comply and continued running from officers.”

The next clip shows a second officer trailing behind Rothermund in the 300 block of West Victory Way. The second officer reported over the radio that he also saw Rothermund with a gun and that Rothermund had tried to put it into his mouth.

At that point, the second officer called for assistance from the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.

The narrator says sheriff’s deputies responded to the 500 block of Barclay Street, where they and the Craig police officer again approached Rothermund, who was still holding a gun.

In the footage, the police officer runs around the back of the Moffat County Courthouse with his gun drawn while shouting warnings that Rothermund had a gun and repeatedly telling Rothermund to get on the ground and to stop.

“Stop, Chris, you’re under arrest,” the officer yelled out again.

“I’m going to die before I go to jail,” Rothermund shouted back.

As Rothermund appears to point his gun at the officer, the body camera footage pauses and the first shot rings out. There are two more shots in the audio, and a subsequent clip shows the police officer taking a handgun from Rothermund’s hand.

The narrator says deputies and the CPD officer performed CPR on Rothermund until paramedics arrived. Rothermund was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

On April 13, the Craig Police Department and Moffat County Sheriff’s Office identified the two law enforcement officers involved in the shooting as officer Daniel Molina, who has been with CPD for a year, and Sgt. Kurtis Luster, who has been with the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office since 2021 and is a 23-year law enforcement veteran.

Per protocol, Molina and Luster have both been put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The internal investigation is separate from the criminal investigation being conducted by the 14th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team.

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