This week, the 17th DA Brian Mason issued a decision letter regarding the fatal shooting of Lucas Antonio Salas, who died while fleeing Northglenn and Thornton police officers last summer.Mason considered the shooting to be legally justified, and to support the controversy, his office released a video of North Glenn officers Joshua Morrow and Charles Feisty, as well as Thornton officer Michal Tim, hunting Salas, a suspect in the tragic murder of a 21-year-old man. Cheyenne Goins, an Alamosa resident, on a public golf course in broad daylight.
Text excerpt from the message: “Mr. Salas ignored [officers’] orders and continued running across the golf course heading toward the golfers and nearby homes.”
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced the search for Goins on August 20, 2021, more than a week after it was reported missing. The schedule was confirmed in an August 13 post on her Facebook page by her sister, who wrote, “She’s been missing for 5 days now… Please pray for her.”
The CBI explosion noted that: “Based on preliminary information provided by [Alamosa County] The Sheriff’s Office and the CBI, both agencies are concerned about possible fraud. Several people are believed to have been in contact with Goins on the night she disappeared, including the suspect in the officer involved in the Northglen shooting. …While the suspect in the Northglenn incident was certainly someone interested in Goins’ disappearance, there were no formal charges at the time of the incident.”
On August 24, the FBI provided an update revealing that Goins’ remains were found three days earlier “in a secret grave in a remote area of Alamosa County at Colorado State Highways 160 and 150.” The CBI has identified Salas and indicated that he is “considered a person of interest in Goins’ disappearance, as he was one of several people last seen with the missing Alamosa woman.”
Resolution letter fills in the gaps. On August 17, a CBI agent contacted an informant with Northglenn PD, with investigators assuming that Salas was staying in town at the home of his stepmother, who lived in an apartment complex on the 300th block of East Mallley Drive.
Bureau personnel also attached Salas to a blue 2003 Nissan Sentra, and on August 18, a Northglen detective noticed him climbing into the car with three other people and driving away—at which point he called for help from patrol officers, to which Moro responded. But Salas drove Sintra off-road to evade an attempt to cut off his escape route, beginning a chase involving Moro that only became more dangerous. In the 120th Street and Washington Street area, “Mr. Salas fired a rifle at Officer Morrow’s patrol car,” according to the letter.
Shortly thereafter, Salas drove into a hole in Thorncreek Golf Course, located near the intersection of 136th Street and Washington, before disembarking and taking off on foot; The other three passengers remained in the car.
According to Moreau, Salas was carrying a revolver as he rushed through a wooded area next to the golf course. Morrow identified himself as a police officer and shouted orders to stop, as did Veste and Tim, who joined the chase, but Salas continued down the path.
The wide open terrain allowed the three policemen to catch up with Salas, with Moreau and Tim approaching him from the right and bringing Veste to the rear. Moreau drew a stun gun, but when he got close to eight feet, Salas reportedly fired several shots in his direction. The account continues, “Officer Moreau described feeling the wind of the bullet on his arm and that he was terrified.”
At that point, Morrow dropped the stun and grabbed his firearm, but didn’t shoot him – because Salas had already fallen to the ground.
Tim told investigators that Salas had also shot him, prompting him to fire three shots at the suspect. Festi fired four shots on his own.
An autopsy later concluded that Salas had been beaten six times. The drug screen also recorded positives of amphetamines and fentanyl.
This combination of factors led D.A. Mason to conclude that the officers did what they should have done under the circumstances, because Salas’ behavior “undoubtedly posed a direct threat to the officers, prompting them to respond with lethal force”—which essentially concluded the investigation into who killed Cheyenne. Goins.
Click to read the shooting decision letter by Officer Lucas Antonio Salas, and keep watching body cam footage from the incident.