DENVER, CO. – A worker’s compensation surveillance operative who was shot four times by someone he was watching last week likely survived only because he was wearing a backpack, according to a police affidavit.
The shooter told police he thought he was firing at a bear. The surveillance operative said he’d been "yelled at" by the shooter minutes before the shooting. The shooter is facing a charge of attempted first degree murder.
In the affidavit, a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy wrote that he’d been dispatched at 6 pm on August 4 to a road in the foothills southwest of Denver on a report of someone claiming he’d been shot by someone firing a shotgun.
The operative – whose name is withheld here for his safety - told officers he was conducting an investigation regarding possible insurance fraud. Court records indicate he was working for Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s largest worker’s compensation insurance provider. It regularly retains private investigators to watch employees who have submitted worker’s compensation claims, to try to obtain video documenting that the employee is not injured, not injured as severely as they claim, or not hampered by the injury in the way they claim.
The operative told sheriff’s deputies he’d been watching Marshall Lawson’s residence from about 100 yards away. Somehow Lawson became aware of the operative’s presence about three hours after the operative initiated surveillance. The operative says Lawson “yelled at” him, telling him he was going to get a gun.
The surveillance operative said that soon thereafter he saw Lawson return with a gun and aim it at him. He says he heard two shots. He says he then started running up a hill away from Lawson, and heard two more shots.
The operative told sheriff’s deputies he couldn’t get a signal on his cell phone, so he walked to his car, drove toward town, and called 911 as soon as his cell phone was in a coverage area. When he placed the call, he didn’t think he’d been hit by any bullets. But while he was waiting for police to respond, he found two bullet holes in the backpack he’d been wearing, according to the affidavit.
Sheriff’s deputies went to Marshall’s residence and found three spent .22 caliber casings in the driveway, about 10 feet from the road. A fourth was found in a .22 caliber rifle recovered at the residence of one of Marshall’s grandfathers, who lives next door.
According to the affidavit, Marshall acknowledged firing a rifle, but he denied knowing there was a man on the hill when he fired. He told a sheriff’s deputy he thought he was shooting a “black object that he presumed to be a bear.”
The twenty-seven-year-old Marshall is facing charges of attempted first degree murder and attempted first degree assault. He’s being held on $150,000 bond. A judge ordered that in the event he posts bond, he’s not to have any contact with Pinnacol Assurance.
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