Pueblo, CO

DougCo deputies cleared in death of couple who vowed to ‘go out in a blaze of glory’

Heather Willard

Lincoln Station parking garage.Photo byHeather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / June 1, 2023

(Lone Tree, Colo.) The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Critical Incident Response Team determined that the six officers involved in the Oct. 25, 2022, shooting at the RTD Lincoln Station were justified in their actions and followed protocol.

The report, sent from the DA’s office to Sheriff Darren Weekly on April 26, details the many aspects that led to deputies shooting and killing David Strain, 31, and Clarissa Daws, 29, both of Pueblo. According to the DA report, the pair opened fire first on the deputies who had properly initiated contact with the vehicle occupants.

Because Strain and Daws fired first, and because deputies followed protocol, no charges will be filed, the 18th DA’s Critical Incident Response Team reported. The deputies returned to regular duty in mid-November, according to a sheriff's office information officer, after the involved deputies were interviewed for the investigation.

According to deputy and DA reports, Strain and Daws were inside a Kia Optima parked in the RTD Lincoln Station parking garage. Deputies approached and saw no license plate, a “punched” door lock, an obscured vehicle identification number and a “homemade” tint on the windows, which led them to believe the car was stolen.

Investigators later found that the car had been stolen out of Pueblo.

According to the report, three undercover deputies initiated a “soft pin” of the vehicle by parking it in with their unmarked cruisers and activating their red and blue lights. Body-worn camera footage was consistent with the deputies’ statements that they announced their presence and directed the occupants loudly, shouting “Sheriff’s office, roll down your windows.” The footage also confirmed that the vehicle shifted on its suspension as if someone was moving inside after the announcements were made.

The vehicle started and a driver attempted to accelerate multiple times into the undercover cars pinning it, investigators reported, causing the deputies to continue shouting instructions at the occupants and begin using a breaching tool to break a driver’s side window. The deputy was unsuccessful, but an occupant responded by shooting out of the driver’s window twice at the deputies.

All three deputies returned fire. Shattered glass injured one deputy who also had a bullet hole in his sleeve. No other injuries were reported.

“Due to the situation instigated by Clarissa Daws and David Strain there was no opportunity for the deputies to use a lesser amount of force,” stated Chief Deputy District Attorney Darcy Kofol in the report's conclusion.

Investigators found three stolen handguns inside the vehicle, in addition to two expired temporary vehicle tags, fentanyl drug use paraphernalia, clothing anti-theft tags, stolen clothing and three cell phones.

Autopsy results showed both Strain and Daws had methamphetamine and fentanyl in their systems, but the gunshot wounds killed them.

Investigators contacted Strain’s family, who said Strain and Daws were staying with them for free. Strain’s father said they had a falling out due to Strain skipping out on bail that his father paid.

Strain’s father told investigators that the pair repeatedly said they would “go out in a blaze of glory, like Bonnie and Clyde” instead of returning to prison.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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