Colorado probe shows man shot at prosecutor's home was random intruder

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 06, 2013 6:46 PM

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - An intruder shot to death at the home of a Colorado prosecutor amid a recent flurry of ambush killings of law enforcement officials turned out to be a random prowler who was high on drugs and claiming to be an "archangel of Jesus," authorities said on Thursday.

A special prosecutor's review of the April 1 shooting concluded that Grand County Deputy District Attorney Heather Stein and her husband, sheriff's Lieutenant John Stein, acted in self-defense when they fired on the stranger, later identified as 32-year-old Joshua Stevens.

The incident in Hot Sulphur Springs, 95 miles northwest of Denver, occurred two weeks after the head of the Colorado prison system was gunned down at his home, and two days after the district attorney of Kaufman County in Texas was found shot to death with his wife.

Another Kaufman County prosecutor had been murdered in January, and a West Virginia sheriff was slain while eating lunch in his patrol car two days after the intrusion at the Steins' home.

The cluster of fatal attacks had police on alert that perhaps law enforcement officials were being targeted.

But the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the probe of the Hot Sulphur Springs case, said the Steins did not know Stevens, who was from Michigan and had been in Colorado for a short time.

Other aspects of the case further suggested that the intrusion into the Steins' home was a random act.

Stevens was found to have had amphetamine, methamphetamine, cannabis and oxycodone in his system at the time of his death, according to the special prosecutor, Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir.

A neighbor who was across the street from the Stein's home reported overhearing violent yelling from the house before seeing the stranger coming toward her, saying he was "the archangel of Jesus" and that he was on a mission, the report said.

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The husband also told authorities that the intruder declared, "I'm the archangel. I'm here to take care of it," after forcing his way into the home shortly before midnight.

The couple had been home asleep with their four children when Stevens began pounding on their door, "yelling and behaving erratically," police said.

The two men struggled inside the house before the confrontation spilled outside, ending with Stevens being shot four times by the prosecutor and her spouse as he and the husband wrestled for the officer's service revolver.

The fatal gunshot was fired by John Stein, the coroner's report concluded.

(Editing by Steve Gorman, Cynthia Johnston and David Gregorio)