Melendy OIS Video
This video has been edited for time and redacted per Sheriff’s Office Policy.
WARNING: The following images may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
On May 24, 2021, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office (EPSO) Communications Center received radio traffic from detectives with the Fountain Police Department (FPD) reporting a man with a gun, later identified as David James Melendy. Officers attempted contact, a foot-chase ensued, and Mr. Melendy ran to Willow Springs Park armed with a handgun. There, detectives contained Mr. Melendy in what was described as an “open air barricade” and attempted to negotiate his surrender. On scene officers also reported numerous civilians in and around the park. Additional arriving law enforcement resources evacuated the park and set a perimeter. FPD requested additional resources from EPSO, who later took tactical command of the incident. As a result, additional resources including EPSO Tactical Support Unit, the METRO Bomb Squad, Colorado Springs Police Department, and multiple other law enforcement responded.
As EPSO took command, Mr. Melendy held a position on a park bench where he continued to brandish his handgun. Mr. Melendy was emotionally volatile, intermittently making suicidal statements, and stating he would “shoot it out” with police rather than go back to jail. Despite multiple requests to put the gun down, Mr. Melendy continued to refuse. After approximately three hours of negotiating with Mr. Melendy, negotiations broke down and a tactical tiered response of nonlethal force was utilized. After being hit by a 40mm less lethal impact round Mr. Melendy stood up and reached for his weapon which was still in his lap. Deputy Christopher Donatell (EPSO) held an unobstructed position as a designated marksman, watching Mr. Melendy’s aggressive actions with his weapon. Being concerned about deputies behind Mr. Melendy’s position, Deputy Donatell fired one single shot from his authorized rifle, striking Mr. Melendy’s left shoulder, stopping the threat.
On scene law enforcement immediately provided medical aid and later were relieved by TEMS (Tactical Emergency Medical Service) medical personnel who responds to all high-risk tactical incidents. Mr. Melendy was transported by ambulance to a local hospital with what were later determined to be non-life-threatening injuries.
David Melendy was injured as the result of a gunshot wound. Forensic evidence confirmed Deputy Donatell fired the round that struck Mr. Melendy. The use of force by Deputy Donatell was analyzed by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and determined to be justified.
David James Melendy was booked into the El Paso County Jail on the following charges:
- Felony Menacing
- Possession of Weapon by Previous Offender
- Parole Violation
- Illegal Discharge of a Firearm
- Reckless Endangerment
- Criminal Mischief