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The parking lot around a King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado is cordoned off for police investigation the day after a shooter opened fire, killing 10 people. March 23, 2021. (Lucy Haggard, The Colorado Sun)

A Boulder police officer was legally justified in using deadly force force when he fired shots at a gunman targeting people at a King Soopers grocery store on March 22, prosecutors have determined.

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday released a report detailing the investigation into Boulder Police Department Officer Richard Steidell use of deadly force.

Steidell was among a second group of law enforcement personnel to enter the grocery store at 3600 Table Mesa Dr. in response to the shooting the afternoon of March 22, according to the DA’s report. The first wave of officers included Officer Eric Talley, the last of 10 people killed during the attack.

Shortly after entering the store, Steidell dropped to the floor to dodge shots from the gunman, the report said. With the gunman visible down an aisle, Steidell was able to fire off multiple rounds from his 9mm handgun.

No one was between Steidell and the gunman at the time the officer opened fire, according to the report.

The gunman moved out of Steidell’s view but returned shortly after, the report said. When the gunman raised a firearm toward the officers, Steidell fired more shots. Investigators later found that one of the eight total shots fired by Steidell hit the gunman in the right thigh. 

“Officer Steidell believed that the use of force was required to prevent an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to himself or another peace officer,” the report said. “His beliefs were both objectively reasonable and, upon further review, correct.”

Steidell who was the last person to fire any shots. He has been on administrative leave during the internal investigation.

The gunman, who surrendered to SWAT soon after being shot, was treated at a Boulder hospital for treatment and later discharged to a local jail. He has been charged with dozens of counts, including first-degree murder.

Lucy Haggard

Lucy Haggard was a TRENDS Reporting Fellow from August 2020 to May 2021 with The Colorado Sun. Email: Twitter: