Three Park County deputies who were under investigation for the shooting of a keg at an underage drinking party in the Pike National Forest have been fired.
Cpl. Glenn A. Hardey and Deputy Richard A. Sonnenberg were fired and reserve Deputy Steve Materkowski's commission was revoked for violation of Park County Sheriffs Office policy and procedures, the Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener said.
Citing an ongoing criminal investigation involving the deputies, Wegener would not say exactly why the deputies were punished. However, last week, the three deputies were suspended pending the results of an investigation into an underage party in the woods.
The investigation began after parents complained that deputies shot at a keg after catching the teens drinking in a remote area of the Pike National Forest.
One parent told 7NEWS that more than one deputy fired shots in an effort to break a chain the teens had used to secure the keg to a tree or a fence.
"There was no reason to try to take down a keg with a gun. Chain cutters, wire cutters maybe," said one student who was at the party.
Undersheriff Monte Gore told 7NEWS he asked the Teller County Sheriff's Office to conduct an independent investigation into potential criminal actions during the shooting incident.
"We don't investigate our own people because that would be a conflict of interest," Gore said. "We take this very seriously, and I can assure everyone we are going to do the right thing."
Gore said the teens attend Woodland Park High School. Several of the partygoers were ticketed for being minors in possession of alcohol, he added.
"I mean we were just going to have fun. The cops had to take their job a little seriously. But in the end they got suspended, so an even situation I'd say," said another student who was at the party.
Parents of teenagers who attended the party told 7NEWS they thought the deputies' actions were reckless.
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