by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG– One person is dead following a police involved shooting this past weekend where authorities have alleged domestic violence as a cause in the incident.
A press release from the Walsenburg Police Department stated that police officers were dispatched in response to a domestic violence call around 9:25 pm Sunday evening, April 4. When officers arrived at the scene on Stacey Drive they observed several children attempting to exit the residence though a window at the front of the house.
One officer went to assist the children while the second officer, Lyle Petkof, went to the back of the house.
The officer at the back of the house is reported to have observed a male, later identified as 29 year old Armando Gallegos, with what appeared to be a knife, attacking a female. The officer opened fire with his service weapon, striking Gallegos twice in the stomach.
Officer Petkof had a clear line of sight through the window that looked in at the kitchen and dining area of the apartment. It was dark outside and interior lights were on.
“Armando had a deer horn pipe in his hand when he pushed me,” Darlene Anderson, Gallegos’ girlfriend said in an interview with the Huerfano World-Journal. “I fell down from being pushed and Armando had turned and started to walk off when I heard a loud popping sound and Armando fell down between the couch and my bookshelf.”
“I went over to him and he was on the floor and he was telling me he had been shot and was dying.”
Anderson said police then further broke out the window and unlocked the back door and entered the house.
“When they came in they were shouting at me to lay down and then they pulled me away from Armando and forced me to lay down on the floor. The police put hand cuffs on me and dragged me out to the car and held me there for about 35 minutes.”
According to reports officers began first aid on the male subject who was then taken to the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center emergency room where he actually died and was resuscitated. He was then flown, by helicopter, to Parkview Hospital in Pueblo where he was pronounced dead around 2:30 am, Monday, April 5.
Gallegos and Anderson had been living together for the past seven years. There were children from previous relationships but the couple had no children from their current involvement with each other.
“We had our disagreements and most of the time it involved a lot of yelling but Armando was basically a nonviolent person toward me and the kids. If anyone was going to get violent and hit anyone it was usually me that hit Armando,” Anderson explained.
Gallegos had just been released from parole, after serving time on an arson charge, and gotten a job at the Walsenburg Lumber store in November 2009. Then in January 2010 the couple moved into their apartment on Stacey Drive.
“This Easter was our first holiday together as a family in our own place and both of us were excited about that,” Anderson said. “Armando worked all day cooking the meat for the meal, he was so happy to help.”
“We had been drinking, Bloody Mary’s and beer and vodka shots most of the day and things were getting loud and lots of talk between friends. Then Armando and one of his friends went out front and talked for a while. I don’t know what was said but is made Armando very mad and when he came back in he began yelling and screaming at me.”
Gallegos had been diagnosed as bi-polar when he was a teenager and his moods could swing very fast.
“He was supposed to be on medication for that but between his bills and child support he couldn’t afford the meds,” Anderson explained. “It feels like everything has been taken away from me.”
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was called in to process the scene and conduct an investigation. Petkof was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the CBI investigation.