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Trinidad officers, Las Animas deputy cleared in deadly 2019 shooting at I-25 on-ramp

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Posted at 11:58 AM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 13:58:53-05

The 3rd Judicial District Attorney's Office has cleared three Trinidad officers and one Las Animas County deputy in a May 2019 shooting on an I-25 on-ramp that left one man dead.

Lawrence Lovato, 46, was told 11 times by officers to drop a gun he had pointed at police, according to the DA's Office. The officers fired several times, killing Lovato.

The officers and deputy involved were identified as Sgt. Tihanovich, Tebedo, Huey and Deputy Dillavou.

The four of them were placed on administrative leave as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation of the incident.

CBI said the officers were responding to a call of a suspicious person at the Alta Convenience Store on State Street.

The DA's Office said the officers found Lovato there, but he left the scene in a pickup truck and drove "slowly and erratically" through the streets.

After a slow speed chase, the officers and the Las Animas Sheriff's Office blocked Lovato on the northbound I-25 on-ramp from Main Street.

Officers saw Lovato had a handgun and asked him multiple times to drop it and exit the truck, according to the DA's Office.

Lovato was waving the gun around when he pointed it at the three officers. The DA's Office said they fired 41 shots with 17 of those hitting Lovato.

The DA's Office said their investigation, based on evidence collected by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, concluded the officers and deputy fired to defend themselves.