Feb 012006
Authors: Vimal Patel

The man killed by police Tuesday night has been identified as Charles A. Pollet, a 53-year-old Fort Collins resident.

The shooting at 2255 West Stuart St. shocked several neighbors, who remembered Pollet as a quiet but decent man.

"I loved him to death," said neighbor Jody Brannaman. "When I was pregnant with my little one, he'd shovel my lot."

In addition to clearing away several of his neighbors' snowy sidewalks, Pollet watched Brannaman's house and kept an eye on things when she was away in Mexico.

"He was the perfect neighbor," she said.

Police received a call about a suicidal man at 7:17 p.m. Tuesday, according to Fort Collins Police Services spokeswoman Rita Davis.

When the first officer arrived at 7:26 p.m., Pollet sat in a chair on his deck holding a .22 caliber revolver to his head, Davis reported.

A police negotiator arrived at 7:38 p.m. and began talking to an uncooperative Pollet, police said.

Pollet held the loaded and cocked gun to his head while approaching officers, prompting police to fire four shots – two from a .223 caliber rifle and two from a .40 caliber handgun – at close range, Davis said.

The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death was homicide, according to the Larimer County Coroner's Office. However, the ruling of the death as a homicide does not imply wrongdoing by the police.

Pollet did not fire his gun, police said.

He received on-scene emergency medical treatment immediately and was taken to Poudre Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Davis said.

Frank Pontillo, a Vietnam veteran and Fort Collins resident, lived across the street from Pollet but barely knew him.

"You don't get to be sociable nowadays," he said. "It's hard with everyone's schedule."

Pontillo briefly met Pollet and had a beer with him one day, but vividly remembers his energetic neighbor's penchant for clearing others' sidewalks early in the morning.

"Man, he made me look bad," he said.

Several neighbors said Pollet was a quiet man who kept mostly to himself, but he was always happy to lend a helping hand when asked.

Several neighbors heard the shots, including Cindy Goehring, whose German shepherd Samantha scurried downstairs due to the loud bursts.

"He was a very nice guy," she said, adding that she didn't know Pollet well, but that he never caused problems.

Pollet loved his motorcycles, neighbors said.

"He used to go to Sturgis with his wife," said Walt McQuain. "We always had fun yakking about cars and motorcycles."

On Wednesday afternoon, officials cordoned off Pollet's home with police tape as officers watched guard. In Pollet's front yard was a "Support Our Troops" sign, a nod to his son who served in Iraq.

"Everybody should understand he was a good guy," McQuain said. "He always had his son's best interests at heart."

Police are investigating the shooting, which involved Officers Scott Goff and Greg Beaumont, who have been placed on administrative leave – a standard procedure for all officer-involved shootings – until the investigation is complete, Davis said.

Goff has been with the department for 26 years, and Beaumont for 6 years.

The last officer-involved shooting involving Fort Collins police was on April 9, 2004 on West Elizabeth Street. Mark Daeschner, 34, was shot in the leg after brandishing what police believed was a handgun, but turned out to be a pellet gun.

The officer in that shooting, Sgt. Richard Zeigler, was cleared.

Police said Pollet was home alone at the time of the shooting.

Neighbors on Tuesday tried in vain to make sense of Pollet's death.

"It was such a shocker to me," Pontillo said. "This really caught me off guard."

Vimal Patel can be reached at regional@collegian.com

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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