The Loveland police officer who shot 19-year-old Alex Domina during a mental health crisis in August will not face criminal charges. Domina died earlier this week from his injuries.
“Mr. Domina’s death was a tragedy,” said Eighth Judicial District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin in a decision letter released Friday. “While a District Attorney only has the authority to decide the appropriateness of criminal charges, a legal justification is not a moral clearance to avoid reform.”
McLaughlin added that the department and the city of Loveland should reform their practices around behavioral health calls. The lawyer for Domina’s family said the wording in the letter was a departure from the usual district attorney letter.
“This isn't about whether one police officer is criminally culpable, while the district attorney only has authority to bring criminal charges, he goes out of his way to talk about the bigger context," said the lawyer, Mari Newman. "He feels that it's important enough to look at the broader picture of the deficiencies in training and resources and policies within the Loveland Police Department to address these kinds of situations."
The shooting was investigated by the neighboring Fort Collins Police Department, with help from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Windsor Police Department and the Loveland Police Department, under the direction of the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. It is standard practice for separate law enforcement agencies to be involved in police use of force investigations. Based on that investigation, McLaughlin determined Officer Eddie Luzon did not break the law. The attorney also declined to bring charges against the deceased Domina.
“It's rare that officers are charged when they shoot civilians and this is certainly a complicated situation,” Newman said. “The criminal standard beyond a reasonable doubt is very different than the legal standard for a civil rights claim.”
She said the family is still processing the death of Domina and has not yet made any decisions about future legal claims.
On August 16, Domina was shot multiple times in the abdomen after a family member called 911, asking for help because Domina was experiencing a mental health crisis. The caller said Domina posed a danger to himself or others and repeatedly expressed fear that Domina would get hurt. Domina had a large chef’s knife and allegedly destroyed property in the house and the backyard.
About one minute after the officer entered the backyard of the house, Domina walked towards the officer, as the officer warned him “do not come near me.” As Domina approached, still carrying the knife, Luzon told him forcefully to “stop,” and then he shot four times, hitting Domina in the abdomen. Another officer then arrived to help deliver first aid, once they were able to take the knife away.
Luzon has been with the Loveland police since 2019. On Friday, the Loveland Police Department did not release information about his employment status.
A celebration of Life for Domina will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Crossroads Church in Loveland.
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