We are now able to release the identities of the subjects involved in the officer involved shooting incident that took place shortly after midnight on Friday, November 11. The Mesa County Coroner has completed the next of kin notifications to the family of the deceased. The release from the Coroner’s office is attached here.
The suspect in this case has been identified as Brian Gaither, age 24, of Grand Junction. At the time of this incident, Gaither had two active warrants for his arrest, one of which stemmed from a parole violation. The second warrant resulted from a traffic stop by the Grand Junction Police Department on November 7th. During the November 7th incident, Gaither fled from the scene of the stop, with a handgun observed in plain sight in the vehicle he was driving. Charges stemming from that incident include Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, Obstructing a Peace Officer, and Reckless Driving, among others. There were no other suspects involved in the events of Friday, November 11.
The officer involved in the shooting is Officer Jacob Steele. Officer Steele has worked for the Grand Junction Police Department since 2008, beginning his career as a civilian police service technician, before earning his POST certification and becoming a police officer in 2010. Jake is an instructor for defensive tactics and de-escalation techniques, and he also teaches arrest control tactics at the Western Colorado Community College POST Academy. During this incident, Jake sustained injuries to his leg, for which he was treated at the hospital, and released hours later.
Officer Steele remains on administrative leave during the internal investigation of this incident, which is standard protocol in these types of events. No other officers were involved in this incident. The criminal investigation by the multi-jurisdictional Critical Incident Response Team is ongoing.