Colorado Springs, CO – The man who shot Colorado Springs Officer Cem Duzel in the head has been identified as an Iraqi immigrant with a long criminal history.
Non-citizen immigrants are generally subject to deportation when they commit crimes of moral turpitude, but Karrar Al Khammasi, 31, was never deported despite his criminal history.
According to The Gazette, Al Khammasi has had nine contacts with the police in the five years that he has lived in the region.
He was first arrested for DUI in 2013.
Just a month later, he was charged with criminal extortion over a business debt of $25,000, according to The Gazette. Investigators say that he threatened a man and his family and set a car on fire.
Al Khammasi was given a plea deal where he pleaded guilty to felony first-degree trespassing of a dwelling, and was sentenced to two years probation.
It’s not clear if the prosecutor offered the plea deal as a way to allow Al Khammasi to avoid deportation that would have been triggered if he was convicted of the more serious crimes he was accused of.
Al Khammasi violated his probation and was sentenced to a year and a half prison with time served credit for half of it.
The Gazette reported that a court document indicated that he had an immigration hold on him at the time, but it’s not clear what ever came of that, and the sheriff’s office didn’t have a record of it.
When Al Khammasi was released from prison, he was arrested in June 2017 for repeatedly punching somebody in the face, and later pleaded guilty to assault.
In January, he was arrested for being a felon in possession of a stolen firearm after police received a tip about him.
He was released on $1,000 cash bail for the weapons charge, and was out on bail when he shot 30-year-old Officer Cem Duzel.
The shooting happened Thursday morning at about 2:45 a.m. on East Boulder Street on the east side of the city when officers responded to multiple reports of shots being fired near Bonfoy Avenue and Boulder Street.
When officers arrived on scene, Al Khammasi shot officer Duzel in the head.
Al Khammasi was shot when officers returned fire.
Officer Duzel remains hospitalized in critical condition. Al Khammasi suffered non-life threatening injuries and remains hospitalized.
Colorado Springs PD says that people can donate to the CSPPA Fallen Officer Relief Fund by calling 719-634-0058 or sending a check to 516 N. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs CO 80903.