The man suspected of shooting and gravely wounding Colorado Springs Police Officer Cem Duzel is being held on a $1 million bond.
The suspect, 31-year-old Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi, is facing multiple charges including Attempted First Degree Murder of a Police Officer, Felony Menacing, and Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender.
Al Khammasi was released from the hospital and booked into the Criminal Justice Center Wednesday. His first court appearance was delayed multiple times while he received treatment in the hospital.
His next court appearance is scheduled for next Thursday.
Duzel was shot early last Thursday when officers responded to a shots fired call in the area of Bonfoy and Boulder.
According to police radio traffic obtained by News 5, there were at least three calls from witnesses in the area who called 911 to report hearing gunshots or seeing a man tuck a pistol in his waistband.
Within 10 minutes of Officer Duzel and others being sent to the area they reported shots fired and urgently called for medical units as an officer was down. Officers called for the medics to hurry as the officer had suffered a critical gunshot wound.
A short time later, officers on scene reported the suspect was also down and multiple officers had fired their weapons.
Officer Duzel, a five-year veteran of the Sand Creek Division, is fighting for his life after being critically injured.
Al Khamasi was also injured in the shootout, and as we said, has spent the last several days in the hospital. According to Homeland Security, Khamasi came to the U.S. from Iraq legally, but has a “lengthy criminal record.” He was in federal custody awaiting deportation in 2016, but an immigration judge put a halt on his deportation, citing changes in the law.
…the Obama administration decided it’s deportation of Mr. Khammasi would also be overturned, so it reopened the case and released him from custody Nov. 7, 2016, according to a Homeland Security official.
Mr. Khammasi would quickly amass more criminal charges, culminating in last week’s attempted murder allegation.
Meanwhile the court cases raged over the legal standard that had set him free.
The Trump administration appealed the 10th Circuit’s ruling, but the Supreme Court was already hearing a similar case out of the 9th Circuit, Sessions v. Dimaya. In May the high court issued its ruling, 5-4, agreeing with the 10th Circuit that the law was too vague to be enforced.
The government warned it would end up having to release criminals back onto the streets — and now in Mr. Khammasi they appear to have a concrete example.
“The ruling significantly undermines our efforts to remove aliens convicted of certain violent crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and burglary, from the United States,” the Homeland Security official said. “By inhibiting ICE from establishing that such aliens are removable or ineligible for certain immigration benefits, Sessions v. Dimaya hampers our national security and allows criminal aliens who prey on our communities to remain in the country, making us more vulnerable as a result.”
At issue is what constitutes a “crime of violence,” which is the standard the law uses to determine when deportation is proper for a legal immigrant.
The Supreme Court ruled part of the test Congress set out, which designates felonies that involve risk of use of physical force, to be so vague as to be unconstitutional.
Congress could step in and clarify the law, but Washington has shown no ability to update immigration laws on other fronts — including the 2001 Zadvydas ruling that sets a limit on how long some illegal immigrants can be held in detention, and the 2015 updates to the Flores settlement that precipitated the recent border family separations.
As for Mr. Khammasi, his status as a refugee could also become an issue.
President Obama had pursued a massive expansion of the program, and insisted the program was safe.
Yet several Iraqi refugees were arrested on terrorism-related charges in 2016. One, who arrived in 2009, pleaded guilty to plotting attacks on Houston shopping malls, while another who like Mr. Khammasi arrived in 2012, is awaiting trial on charges of assisting terrorists in Syria.
President Trump took office on a promise of reeling in the refugee program, saying he didn’t think the government was able to weed out dangerous applicants from places such as Iraq and Syia, where vetting backgrounds can be difficult.
In addition to his travel ban, which tried to impose a temporary halt on refugees, Mr. Trump has also severely restricted the total number admitted.
And look who brought this jihadist to Colorado:
Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains is, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the organization responsible for bringing Khammasi and his fellow Middle Eastern refugees to Colorado’s El Paso County. They refused to comment on the case, telling the Gazette that “it does not comment on involvement with clients.”