Boulder police: Suspect shot by officer threatened to kill girlfriend, was wearing body armor

One knife found at the scene. (Credit: Boulder Police Department)

One knife found at the scene. (Credit: Boulder Police Department)

BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder police officer who shot a suspect Sunday afternoon had reason to believe the suspect had stabbed another officer, and possibly hurt a woman who had filed a restraining order against him, the Boulder Police Department said Monday.

The 42-year-old suspect, whose name was not released, allegedly ran toward officers with a knife in each hand while wearing Ugg boots and a full suit of dirt-biking armor, police said. He crashed against one officer’s ballistic shield and charged toward a second officer, who believed the first officer had been stabbed.

In fact, the officer holding the shield was not badly hurt, BPD said.

The second officer, Vincent Gallerani, fired three shots from his HK416 .223-caliber rifle, hitting the suspect twice, BPD said. The suspect later died at the hospital.

New information released Monday revealed that the suspect was involved in a possible domestic dispute with his girlfriend about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, BPD reported. Officers responded to the suspect’s apartment at 3009 Madison St. after the girlfriend’s mother reported that she was worried her daughter was in danger.

The suspect is the subject of a restraining order prohibiting him from seeing the woman in question, BPD said. Investigators found at least one comment on social media stating that the suspect wanted to kill her.

However, the suspect’s girlfriend, 41-year-old Kirsten Stenseng, met police outside and said she was fine, BPD reported. Officers watched her drive away and opted not to make any arrests at that time.

At 12:30 p.m. the same day, a neighbor called police to report the suspect had been yelling and throwing things outside the apartment. He was also allegedly seen stabbing a post.

The neighbor believed that Stenseng had returned to the apartment and was in trouble, police said.

Officers responded again. They saw Stenseng’s gold Cadillac in the parking lot, but could not find her, BPD said. After no one responded to knocks at the suspect’s door, a four-man team decided to break in, police said.

Just inside the door, the suspect allegedly appeared with the knives. The confrontation ensued and the man was shot after he ignored orders to stop, BPD said.

The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later.

Police later learned that Stenseng was safe in a neighbor’s apartment, BPD said.

“It is always unfortunate when an officer has to use deadly force and it is a very emotional experience for any officer who is put in this situation,” Police Chief Mark Beckner said in a statement. “We are very thankful none of our officers were injured by this attack. Additionally, our condolences go out to the suspect’s family for their loss.”