National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell tased and shot an unarmed man, Charles “Gage” Lorentz, during a traffic stop in New Mexico, and then handcuffed Lorentz’s corpse on March 21.
KOB-TV reports that Lorentz was driving from his work site in Pecos, Texas, to his family’s home in southwest Colorado when he took a detour at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park to meet a friend, but was stopped by Mitchell for allegedly for speeding on a dirt road.
Lorentz complied with Mitchell’s order to spread his feet and move closer to a railing. Lorentz briefly danced to music coming from another vehicle before he calmly refused to turn around.
After Mitchell appeared to draw his Taser, Lorentz said, “Oh, come on, get real with it. Other one.”
Mitchell tased Lorentz, but then Mitchell’s body cam mysteriously went off for about 26 seconds. When rhe video came back on, Mitchell was on top of the unarmed Lorentz and shot him twice with a gun.
Three minutes after the shooting, Mitchell put handcuffs on Lorentz’s corpse and declared him “under arrest.”
Eight minutes after the shooting, Mitchell got a first aid kit from his vehicle, but didn’t try to render aid until 12 minutes after the shooting.
Later in the video, Mitchell told another ranger that the Taser didn’t work on Lorentz, so he lunged at Lorentz and tried a “dry stun” at close range, which was when the incident escalated to the shooting.
The National Park Service and Dianna Luce, Eddy Count District Attorney, said the shooting is still under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but Lorentz’s family plans to file a lawsuit against the United States Interior Department and National Park Service.
Lorentz family attorney Shannon Kennedy said Mitchell was “insane”:
Let’s start with the fact that this man takes a Taser and shoots Gage with no provocation from Gage whatsoever. There is no communication, there is no de-escalation. That park ranger is insane, he’s out of his mind. What is he arresting him for? Driving too fast down a country road, and he takes his life over that? It’s a citation, it’s a warning. It’s not a death sentence.
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