BROOMFIELD — A 911 call recorded just before Kyle Miller was shot to death by Broomfield police officers last week shows that his family warned dispatchers the 21-year-old was armed with an Airsoft pellet gun — not a real handgun.
In response, a dispatcher assured the victim’s brother, “Officers are trained in this kind of thing. They’re not going to go around shooting people.”
Broomfield police received a 911 call around 7:20 a.m. June 28 about a “mentally distraught” man in the Aspen Creek subdivision. While officers were en route, they encountered Miller near the intersection of Aspen Street and Durango Avenue. Miller pointed the pellet gun at police and was shot by officers.
The 911 tape shows that Miller’s younger brother, Alex Miller, told police about the Airsoft gun in an attempt to avoid a dangerous confrontation.
“My brother is having a breakdown,” Alex Miller told the dispatcher, adding that he woke up to his mother’s screams because Kyle Miller was trying to cut himself with a pocket knife. Screams can be heard in the background throughout the 911 call.
On the recording, Alex Miller repeatedly said his brother was carrying an Airsoft gun.
“Can you tell them he has a gun in his hands? Is there any way you can let them know he’s got the gun in his hands?” Alex Miller said. “It’s not real.”
“I know,” the dispatcher replied. “The officers are trained in this kind of thing. They’re not going to go around shooting people.”
Officials from the Broomfield Police Department said they cannot legally discuss Kyle Miller’s death while the shooting investigation is under way.
Sgt. Steve Griebel said there is no set timeline for when the department will be able to release details of the case, which is being handled by the Adams/ Broomfield Critical Incident Team, an independent inter-agency “shoot team.”
“When they present the findings to us, we’ll make a decision on whether or not charges should be filed,” said Krista Flannigan, spokeswoman for the Adams and Broomfield County District Attorney’s Office.
For now, the involved officers are on administrative leave, which is a standard policy, officials said.
Broomfield police will not say how many officers were on scene, how many fired their weapons or how many times Kyle Miller was shot.
Cheryl Miller, his mother, said her son was shot multiple times.
Kyle Miller’s family said he struggled with schizo-affective bipolar disorder for most of his life. He recently was certified as an EMT, but mental health issues contributed to him losing his first job after just a few weeks.
Cheryl Miller said the bad news may have caused him to hurt himself.
“He was in a tormented place mentally,” she said.
A funeral service for Kyle Miller was held Friday morning at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette.
I don’t understand why they would use lethal force if they were already informed that the suspect had a pellet gun. Clearly he’s not going to go on a shooting rampage, or even injure someone with a pellet gun. For those of you unsure what a pellet gun is: Parents give them to children when they’re like 10 years old - if that tells you anything. The worst thing that could happen? You could shoot someone’s eye out if you were an amazing shot or at point-blank range. But even that would not kill you. Yet the officers opened up with full-on, rampage, deadly force - as if the guy was carrying .45.
It’s tragic, but all too typical. But I’ll bet the brother feels a little bad for calling the police. Even though he didn’t know what was going to happen - that it would result in his brothers untimely death.
Still, this is a chance for people to see that, when you notify the police, they come out with the same type of brute force mentality that the government is notorious for. The risk of an altercation leading to someone’s death is reduced 100-fold by simply avoiding the police and instead calling a neighbor or a family friend. Please consider that in the future.