CBI Report: Likely 72 Shots Fired During Shootout That Killed Cpl. Nate Carrigan
By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4)- The Colorado Bureau of Investigation reports at least six dozen shots were fired during the Feb. 24 gun battle in Park County that left Cpl. Nathan Carrigan dead, two other Park County officers wounded, and suspect Martin Wirth dead near his home on Iris Drive.
CBS4 obtained a copy of the 18 page document this week. The report obtained by CBS4 contains a detailed description of the crime scene but no statements from witnesses on what occurred.
CBS4 has repeatedly requested the entire report from Thom Ledoux, Park County District Attorney, but in an email Thursday he said he was not prepared to release any materials yet.
"My office has not concluded our review of the CBI Report," wrote Ledoux. "As such, it is still a pending investigation and not available for release. The review has been significantly delayed by the loss of a Deputy District Attorney from our staff."
Attorney Donald Sisson, who represents the family of Nate Carrigan, said, "What's missing from the CBI report is all the witness statements."
Sisson reviewed the CBI report at the request of CBS4.
"There's a ton of unanswered questions in this case. Who gave the order to breach the structure? What was the sheriff's knowledge? Did the sheriff give the order? We don't know the answers and obviously the witness statements are going to tell the story," said Sisson.
Park County deputies went to Wirth's home Feb. 24 to evict Wirth, who had refused to make mortgage payments to his lender. But during the confrontation, they say Wirth opened fire triggering the deadly gunfight.
According to the newly obtained CBI report, "Upon making entry to the house the deputies came under gunfire by Wirth, and subsequently retreated, then returned fire."
A CBI videotape of Wirth's home, also obtained by CBS4, shows the aftermath of the firefight both inside and outside Martin Wirth's home. The video shows spent casings littering the floors, windows shattered by bullets and gouges in ceilings from gunshots.
The written report states that during the gunfight, Wirth left the house through the basement but was again engaged in gunfire outside the home when he brandished a .45 caliber carbine rifle toward deputies. Wirth was shot and killed and was found lying on his back in some snow with a "visible laceration to his forehead" according to the CBI report.
Investigators say they found a loaded .45 caliber magazine in the snow near Wirth. CBI investigators describe Wirth's home as "generally untidy and dirty."
They say when they surveyed his home, they found at least 72 apparent bullet holes or bullet strikes but that some of the marks could have been from debris that traveled at a high velocity. The videotape obtained by CBS4 also shows a handgun sitting on a desk next to Wirth's computer, and another handgun in a drawer next to his bed.
Investigators said they found a hand written note on a bed inside Wirth's camper, but in their report they did not disclose the contents of the note.
The CBI investigators found dozens of cartridge casings around Wirth's home, along with "a small green journal" inside a backpack. Again, investigators did not disclose the contents of the journal.
"The ceiling of the living room was littered with holes and strikes," notes the CBI report.
Authorities say there are numerous witness statements about what happened, but the Park County Sheriff has not released those statements citing the unfinished District Attorney's investigation.
Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener told CBS4, "We were going to wait and release the whole thing at once. We're not going to piecemeal it."
Wegener said releasing witness statements will likely be his decision.
"The witness statements will probably be up to me. I don't see any reason why we wouldn't (release them)," said Wegener.
"I'm not sure why there's a delay," said Sisson. "We're not aware of any legitimate reason for the delay."
The family of Cpl. Nathan Carrigan sees those witness statements as crucial to understanding what happened. They are considering taking legal action against the Sheriff over the deadly eviction.
In an exclusive interview with CBS4 in April, Nate Carrigan's father, John, said "My son is dead and that is the only truth that has come out of this department. It was unnecessary."
Carrigan and his wife Melissa question the tactics involved in the eviction, specifically why Park County deputies didn't back off after the initial volley of shots were fired.
"I want to know why, why did they do it this way?" asked Melissa Carrigan.
The Carrigans have questioned why the Park county sheriff did not employ a SWAT team for the eviction, since Martin Wirth had a history of making threats against police and had been arrested the previous month for eluding police.
CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.
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