Milliken man who pleaded guilty to menacing in connection with officer-involved shooting sentenced to 10 years in prison
April 21, 2017
At 28, Evans Police officer Josh Desmond knows he will probably wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life.
The alternative is to deal with the ringing he will never shake from his ears.
That ringing started in the early morning hours of May 18, 2016. That's when he found himself in the basement of a Milliken home with Andrew "Joe" Gerold, 29, and other officers who responded to 764 Saddelback Drive on a report of a domestic disturbance. According to affidavits for his arrest, that disturbance led to Gerold shooting his wife in the ankle, and, ultimately, to officers shooting Gerold.
A Weld District Court judge on Friday sentenced Gerold to 10 years in prison for two counts of menacing in connection with his actions that night. He pleaded guilty to the charges in a plea agreement.
According to affidavits for his arrest, Gerold tried to confront his wife in the house's kitchen. When his mother, Michelle Benson, stepped between them, he pointed the gun at her. Then he reached over her shoulder and shot his wife in the ankle, the report said.
Anthea Carrasco, the case's prosecutor, played the 10-minute 911 call from that night at Friday's hearing. In it, Gerold's stepfather told the dispatcher he was on drugs and "going berserk."
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Gerold later told police he was drunk and high on cocaine and marijuana during the shooting and believed his wife was having an affair.
By the time officers arrived, Gerold had barricaded himself and his wife in the basement and refused to surrender.
He then fired a few more rounds before opening the basement door, according to a news release. That's when officers opened fire, striking Gerold in the left shoulder and left thigh.
Police from agencies surrounding Milliken responded to help. Desmond was among them.
"I volunteered to walk into the house to try to save lives," Desmond said. "I never wanted to be in that situation … that's not what I asked for."
The gunfire in the enclosed space in the basement created a constant ringing in his ear, and Desmond sought medical help days later. He said in court his hearing remains fuzzy, but the hearing aid helps block the ringing.
Gerold's life had been marred by drug addiction for years, said William McAdams, his attorney. His involvement in the criminal justice system started as a teenager, sparked by the agony of grief.
"(He was) a young man who never dealt properly with his father's death," McAdams said. "(As a young man) he seeks solace in something that comforts him … that doesn't accuse him or harass him, and that's drugs. Unfortunately, the ripple effects have put us here today."
McAdams asked Weld District Court Judge Timothy Kerns to remember Gerold is a good person, and has been attending therapy and passing drug tests for the past 11 months.
Carrasco also referenced Gerold's past. She said his two stints on probation, in community corrections, and the six months he spent in prison should have provided him with the resources he needed to wage a successful war against his substance abuse. She agreed Gerold was wrestling with addictions, but she said there was more to the story.
"There are far more people outside these courtroom walls who have serious substance abuse issues who do not then commit crimes," she said. "When I look at (Gerold) I see someone who has substance abuse issues, and also someone who has crime issues."
Kerns agreed. He felt Gerold had rejected the opportunities he had to get clean.
"You are being sentenced for conduct," he told Gerold. "Addiction does not absolve you of accountability."