Cops Shoot Teens' Beer Keg at Colorado Campground Party
Park County authorities in Colorado are investigating whether three deputies acted properly in breaking up an alleged underage drinking party on April 6.
The deputies were suspended after a witness said one deputy fired his gun three times at a beer keg, KRDO-TV, Colorado Springs, reported.
"I'm deeply disappointed," said Undersheriff Monte Gore. "If I had a child at a party and a deputy fired his gun, I'd be furious. We'll make the results of the investigation public when it's complete."
Two Woodland Park High School seniors said they were among about 40 teens who attended the party at the Tarryall Campground in the Pike National Forest south of Denver. The pair asked to remain anonymous but agreed to explain what they saw.
One teen said the event began as a birthday celebration for several friends, but he was surprised to see the beer keg when he arrived at 10 p.m. He said he and other teens drank some of the beer, but not enough to become intoxicated.
Another teen said despite changing the party's location to keep it hidden, word spread to concerned parents and the high school's resource officer. About midnight, he said, three deputies arrived, accompanied by the resource officer and a Woodland Park police officer.
"They were acting like they were going to be cool about it, but they weren't very happy," said a teen. "Basically, everyone ran. The deputies were saying the consequences would be worse if we didn't come back."
The two Woodland Park teens confirmed that they heard three gunshots but didn't see a deputy aim at the keg. The teens believe the deputies overreacted.
"I was freaking out as it was, so I thought maybe someone was trying to argue with them," he said. "I didn't think it'd be necessary to shoot a gun."
The teen estimated that 10 kids escaped and were not cited, while the rest were cited for underage possession of alcohol.
"The worst I've heard is I might lose my license for three months," he said.
Another teen said he agreed that the deputies were properly reprimanded.
"Both sides got in trouble for doing things we shouldn't have been doing," he said. "So, it's an even situation."
Feedback from parents was mixed, according to the teens, who said some parents knew of the party and allowed their teens to be there, while other parents were thankful that no one was hurt.
Some teens said they realize underage drinking is illegal, but that they were doing only what kids usually do in a small town on a weekend.
Woodland Park has scheduled a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday. It will be held at the the Ute Pass Cultural Center. PrintEmail