Steamboat cop fired after domestic violence incident
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An officer with the Steamboat Springs Police Department was fired Wednesday amid a criminal investigation of a domestic violence incident in June.
Fabian Avitia, 25, was arrested during the early morning hours of June 29 on four misdemeanor charges, including criminal mischief, false imprisonment, prohibited use of a firearm and obstruction of a telephone service, according to an arrest affidavit obtained from the Routt County Justice Center.
Because the incident involved a fellow officer, police officials asked the Routt County Sheriff’s Office to conduct the investigation. Through interviews with Avitia and the victim, deputies determined a verbal argument sparked after a night of drinking, according to the arrest affidavit.
Avitia was upset that a bar in town would not allow him to enter without his ID. He returned home with his girlfriend, but he remained angry. According to the affidavit, Avitia wanted to return to the bar with his ID, but his girlfriend was worried he would drive drunk.
The resulting argument escalated until the woman tried to call for help, but Avitia knocked the phone out of her hand, according to the affidavit. At one point, he wielded a handgun but never threatened the woman with it. She was unharmed.
At 2:45 a.m. June 29, deputies booked Avitia into the Routt County Jail, and he was placed on administrative leave the same day. He remained on paid leave during the course of an internal investigation, as required by law, according to Police Chief Cory Christensen.
The Police Department’s internal investigation concluded Tuesday, and it found that Avitia’s behavior violated several policies of the department and the city, Christensen said.
“The serious nature of those violations are what led to the recommendation that he be terminated from employment,” Christensen said.
An additional, criminal investigation, conducted by the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, is ongoing.
Avitia, who joined the Police Department as a fresh academy recruit in December 2018, was among the agency’s youngest officers.
His last day was Wednesday.
Late last month, Jim and Gloria Matthews were preparing to embark on the next chapter of their lives.