Deputy cleared in shooting incident west of Berthoud

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

Bret Alan Hanson

The Larimer County District Attorney’s (LCDA) Office released its findings after an investigation of a shooting involving a Larimer County Sheriff’s Deputy in Berthoud earlier this month. Deputy Ethan Powers was found to have been legally justified in firing his gun at 46-year-old Bret Alan Hanson by District Attorney Cliff Reidel.

The incident which was under investigation took place on Jan. 8 around 6 p.m. when Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to  a complaint/welfare check in the area of West County Road 4 and Country Road 23E west of Berthoud on reports of a man screaming, blowing a horn, cursing and “generally acting bizarre” in front of a home. The LCDA’s letter confirming their findings also confirms that Hanson’s neighbors have previously expressed concerns about the mental health of their neighbor and that police were not unfamiliar with the residence.

The LCDA’s findings were that as Deputy Powers and Deputy Neil Baker approached the home they, “observed a male individual with a handgun come partially out of the door. Deputy Powers observed the male go back inside the doorway and then immediately saw the squared off barrel of a handgun pointed at him. Deputy Powers drew his weapon, moved to his left, and fired his weapon in self-defense.” Hanson was not hit and then barricaded himself inside the home resulting in a standoff with law enforcement.

At around 7 p.m., Hanson exited the home and was taken into custody and transported to the Larimer County Jail without further incident.

A subsequent search of Hanson’s home resulted in the seizure of multiple weapons which included the handgun Powers described seeing pointed at him as well as a large cache of ammunition.

Hanson now faces charges of Prohibited Use of Weapons (Class 2 Misdemeanor) and Failure to Leave Premises Upon Request of a Peace Officer (Class 3 Misdemeanor). He is scheduled to appear in Larimer County District Court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 31.

West County Road 4 was closed between County Road 23E and Green Ridge Road for about one and a half hours.  An Everbridge emergency notification was sent to 45 contacts (not individual homes) in the area alerting them to the law enforcement activity in the area.

The charges are merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

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