Report: Park Ranger Shoots Unarmed Man Through Heart, Handcuffs His Dead Body
Body cam footage from a Carlsbad Caverns National Park park ranger has revealed the visitor he tased, shot, and killed had never provoked the ranger and was unarmed, according to a KOB 4 report
- Charles “Gage” Lorentz was stopped by National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell for speeding on a dirt road. Lorentz had made a detour traveling home from work to meet a friend in the park.
The lapel video shows Ranger Mitchell ordered Lorentz to spread his feet and move closer to a railing. Lorentz is seen complying with those orders. But when the ranger orders Lorentz to turn around, Lorentz is seen in the video not complying and dancing to nearby music playing from someone’s vehicle. Ranger Mitchell commanded Lorentz to take his hands out of his pockets, and without warning or an announcement that force will be used; Ranger Mitchell deployed his Taser at Lorentz.
- There are 26 seconds missing from the video. However, when the video resumes, Ranger Mitchell can be seen on top of Lorentz where he is shot twice.
- Ranger Mitchell claimed in the missing footage Lorentz became aggressive with him: “I went dry stun, he hit me somewhere right here on the side of my head. The fight was on, he grabbed me around the neck, he tried to push my head into the push bar and I came up and fired one round. I don't know if I got him or not, but I definitely got him on the second one and he crumbled.”
- However, three witnesses claim Lorentz only fought back after Ranger Mitchell lunged at him first.
- After Lorentz was shot and killed, Ranger Mitchell handcuffed him, declaring him “under arrest.”
Mr. Lorentz’s family has struggled deeply with his death, feeling as though some of the full story is missing.
District Attorney Dianna Luce stated it will be difficult to tell if the shooting is justified if the 26 missing seconds cannot be recovered.
According to the autopsy report, the first shot to the thigh missed a major artery and was survivable. However, the second shot fatally went through Mr. Lorentz’ heart.