Colorado Springs cop-shooting suspect had been scheduled for deportation

Author: Lance Benzel, The Gazette - August 6, 2018 - Updated: August 23, 2018

Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi

The suspect in a shooting that left a Colorado Springs police officer in critical condition is an Iraqi refugee who’s been in the U.S. for six years, the Department of Homeland Security said Monday.

DHS officials told The Gazette that Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi was granted refugee status in May 2012 and entered the country six months later on a flight from Istanbul to Chicago.

Al Khammasi picked up his first charges in a “lengthy criminal record” within 11 months of his arrival, the agency said in a statement.

New details about Al Khammasi’s residency emerged as the officer he is accused of wounding, Cem Duzel, remains in critical condition. His condition was unchanged as of Monday morning, police said.

Duzel was shot Thursday morning in a shootout just blocks from the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The officer was responding to a call of shots fired, authorities say.

The Gazette on Friday reported that Al Khammasi was flagged by immigration officials after a 2013 arrest but managed to evade deportation after pleading guilty to felony trespassing a year later. Court records show he had “an immigration hold” on the day his guilty plea was heard in court.

“It sounds like he had a criminal defense lawyer who was aware of possible immigration consequences and negotiated that plea,” said David Simmons, a Denver immigration attorney of more than 30 years and a former adjunct professor at the University of Denver.

Al Khammasi was sentenced to two years on probation. After violating terms of his release, he went back in front of a judge, who ordered him to serve 18 months in prison, with nearly a year of credit for time served.

At the time of the shooting, Al Khammasi was free on $1,000 bail on a charge of weapon possession by a previous offender.

Although Al Khammasi on Monday was scheduled to be advised of pending charges against him in Duzel’s shooting, he remains hospitalized and isn’t expected to attend, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby said.

The Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the crime at the request of Colorado Springs police, indicated it will pursue a charge of attempted murder of a police officer, among others.


Gazette reporter Kaitlin Durbin contributed to this report. 

Lance Benzel, The Gazette