Fort Collins, CO – The mother of a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot while lunging at police with a large hunting knife in 2017 is using Colorado’s new red flag law in an attempt to strip away the firearms rights of the officer who shot him.
The fatal altercation occurred on July 1, 2017, after Susan Holmes called police to report that her son, 19-year-old Jeremy Holmes, was armed with a knife and threatening to kill his brother, KDVR reported.
When Colorado State University (CSU) Police Corporal Philip Morris and at least one other CSU officer encountered Jeremy in the 500 Block of West Prospect Road, they quickly realized he was still armed with the large hunting knife, KUSA reported.
Bodycam footage showed that during the two minutes that followed, police ordered Jeremy to drop the 11-inch blade over 40 times, according to the Coloradoan.
The suspect refused to comply and demanded that the officers shoot him.
At one point during the encounter, Cpl. Morris started to holster his duty weapon so he could deploy a Taser to subdue him, but Jeremy charged at him with the knife as he was trying to transition weapons, KUSA reported.
Both officers opened fire, killing him.
Police investigators described the incident as a situation of “suicide by cop,” KUSA reported.
Larimer County District Attorney Clifford Riedel the officers’ use of deadly force was “clearly justified,” according to KDVR.
But Susan now argues that police overreacted in handling her 911 call.
“Kids say that all the time about ‘I’m gonna kill my brother…he’s pissed me off,’” she told KDVR. “I didn’t even take it seriously.”
On Jan. 9, Susan used Colorado’s newly-enacted red flag law to file an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) petition and affidavit against Cpl. Morris in Larimer County District Court.
The law allows a law enforcement officer, household member, or family member to file such paperwork if they believe an individual is a threat to themselves or to others, KUSA reported.
Under the penalty of perjury, Susan claimed in the documents that she and Cpl. Morris have a child together and that the officer is her family member – a statements that are entirely false, according to KUSA.
She further alleged that “Phil Morris used his firearm to recklessly & violently threaten and kill” her son.
Susan also endorsed a statement on the petition accusing Cpl. Morris of threatening or harming others.
“There have been a pattern of acts or credible threats of violence by the respondent in the last year, including but not limited to acts or credible threats of violence against self or others,” the document read, according to the Coloradoan.
Susan provided no evidence to bolster her bold claim, noting only that the details of the additional alleged wrongdoings were “unknown but possible,” the Coloradoan reported.
She also alleged that it is “unknown but possible,” that Cpl. Morris may have previously been convicted of a domestic violence offense, and accused him of “ongoing violence and aggression from 2013-2017.”
The matter is scheduled to go before the court on Thursday.
“I filed this ERPO because there was a coverup in my son’s murder,” Susan told KDVR. “I believe Officer Phil Morris murdered my son.”
She noted that Cpl. Morris is “absolutely” a danger to the public.
“He shouldn’t even be a police officer!” she declared.
Susan also dismissed questions regarding her claim that she and Cpl. Morris share a child together.
“People might think it’s weird. I don’t.” she told KDVR. “I can’t talk about my strategy of what I’m going to present in court on that.”
Susan said she is pushing to have the red flag law amended so that members of the public can file for ERPOs against law enforcement officers.
“I’ve never received any justice, and neither has my son,” Susan said in a YouTube video showcasing her petition paperwork. “He was slaughtered by Officer Phil Morris…I think he should never have a gun again in his life. He shouldn’t even be a police officer.”
“Jeremy’s just quietly walking down the street doing nothing. No harm to anybody. Nothing,” she added. “[Cpl. Morris is] out of control and violent and kills teenagers.”
Colorado House Minority Leader Representative Patrick Neville blasted the red flag law in a tweet on Tuesday.
“We predicted this and said a falsely accused person has no recourse other than hoping a DA files charges. No recourse to recoup lost wages or reputation,” Neville wrote. “One example of many about how this bill was so horribly written.”
Susan has also filed a civil lawsuit against CSU, the Coloradoan reported.