Ranger in National Park shot dead man during traffic stop and ‘waited 16 minutes to give him first aid’
The family of a Colorado man claims more than three months after a National Park ranger shot and killed the unarmed 25-year-old during a traffic stop at Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.
Authorities say that ranger Robert Mitchell stopped Charles “Gage” Lorentz on March 21 for erratic driving.
Lorentz’s relatives say the oilfield worker was unarmed and was not under the influence of alcohol when Mitchell shot him in the heart.
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Charles ‘Gage’ Lorentz, 25 (left), was driving from Texas to Colorado when he stopped at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and was killed by National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell (right)
This screenshot from Mitchell’s body camera video shows the moment when the ranger opened fire and shot Lorentz once on the thigh and once in the heart
Three minutes after opening fire, Mitchell puts handcuffs on the dying man
They also claim that the ranger, who is certified as EMT, waited 16 minutes before providing any major assistance to the fatally injured Lorentz, and later left his body in the desert at night.
Lorentz was traveling from Peco, Texas, where he worked as a machine operator for an oil and gas company, back to his home near Montrose, Colorado, to see his family. Authorities say he stopped in Carlsbad to meet a friend.
Mitchell responded to an unrelated call when he reportedly saw Lorentz driving and driving irregularly.
Lorentz, an oilfield worker, was stopped for speeding and driving irregularly on a country road
Recently released body camera video, missing 26 seconds, shows Lorentz outside his vehicle and initially in accordance with Mitchell’s orders, reported KOB.
But then when Lorentz is ordered to turn around, who appears cheerfully and is seen as chewing gum, he starts dancing to cheerful pop music from another car.
Mitchell orders Lorentz to take his hands out of his pockets and uses his Taser without warning.
The video goes black and resumes 26 seconds later with the ranger on top of Lorentz. Mitchell then fires his service weapon twice, striking the man once in the leg and once in the chest.
Just over three minutes later, he puts on Lorentz handcuffs, which are seen lying on the floor.
“You are under arrest,” says the ranger to the dying man.
Mitchell reportedly waited eight minutes before removing his first aid kit from his car. It took another eight minutes for the ranger to apply an oxygen mask over Lorentz’s face CBS Denver.
Later in the video, Mitchell is heard talking to a sheriff’s deputy and telling him that during the missing part of the shot, the barbs of his Taser Lorentz ‘coat had not entered and the driver hit the forester on the head and grabbed him around the neck.
Lorentz stopped at Carlsbad Caverns to meet a friend on the way to Colorado
Lorentz ‘family, including mother Kim Beck (far right), said he was unarmed and had no drugs or alcohol in his system
Lorentz’s parents and siblings said the 25-year-old was unarmed, and a toxicological report found that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the incident.
According to Lorentz’s autopsy, the first round missed all the major arteries in his thigh and he could have survived, but the second round pierced his heart.
Gage’s father, Travis Lorentz, said that since the death of his son more than three months ago, none of the National Parks Service have contacted him.
“I think they’re trying to cover up something,” he told KOB.
Shannon Kennedy, a lawyer representing the Lorentz family, took the first legal move last month toward a civil lawsuit against the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service alleging negligence, mistreatment and battery and false imprisonment. Carlsbad Current Argus.
Kennedy said Mitchell shot Lorentz with the Taser without provocation and made no attempt to de-escalate the situation before resorting to deadly violence.
“The park ranger is insane, he’s gone crazy,” the lawyer told KOB in late June. “Why is he arresting him? To drive too fast on a country road? And does he take over his life for that? It is a quote, it is a warning, it is not a death sentence. ‘
The family plans to sue the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service for negligence, assault and battery, and false prison terms
The Eddy County Sheriff’s Department investigated the fatal shooting and reported the findings to the Eddy County District Attorney’s Office.
Due to the crucial 26 seconds that were missing in the body camera video, the agency has so far been unable to decide if the use of force was warranted.
Prosecutor Dianna Luce told the station that she wants all the evidence available before making a final decision.
The US Attorney’s Office is also investigating the case to see if Lorentz’s constitutional rights were violated when Mitchell shot him.
Mitchell, who has been with the National Parks Service since 2002, now has an administrative assignment pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
A GoFundMe page launched in June by Lorentz’s mother, Kim Beck, described her son as “a real, country-raised young man with a heart of gold. He was hardworking and committed. His world was his family and the Colorado landscape where we raised him on the Western Slope. ‘
Lorentz is survived by his parents and two sisters.
“Our son should still be alive,” wrote Beck. Gage tried to defend himself when he was brutally shot – not once, but twice, which resulted in his death. This ranger had absolutely no reason to use Gage fatally – he coolly killed our son. ‘