A Colorado jury sentenced a man convicted of shooting a Colorado Springs police officer and leaving him brain-damaged in 2018 to 45 years in prison on Thursday, according to reports.
Officer Cem Duzel was responding to a shots fired call in the city’s Knob Hill neighborhood in August 2018 when he ran into Karrar Al Khammasi who shot him in the head, according to FOX 21 in Colorado Springs. Al Khammasi had just been kicked out of an Uber by a female driver who said he was harassing her.
Al Khammasi is an Iraqi refugee who was supposed to be deported in 2016 for a felony trespassing conviction but he was allowed to stay because of a change in the law, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
He was convicted of first-degree attempted murder in June. He was also convicted of assault on a police officer, menacing and illegal possession of a weapon, according to FOX 21.
“This case really speaks to the dangers that law enforcement encounter every single day,” District Attorney Michael Allen said Thursday. “And it’s not in the streets of New York City or Los Angeles; it’s even right here in Colorado Springs.”
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Duzel went through months of rehabilitation after the shooting and was forced to retire from the force because of his injury. He has still not fully recovered. In 2019, he received the department’s highest honor: the Medal of Valor.
“This guy is a hero, he stopped a threat that night, he stopped the potential of other individuals being hurt or killed by his courageous contact with an armed suspect,” Howard Black, a 4th Judicial District spokesperson said, according to FOX 21.
Duzel and his family thanked everyone for the support during his recovery over the last three years on Thursday. The former officer is now planning a summer wedding with his fiancée.
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“Today was a closure,” his father, Mumtaz Duzel, said, according to the Gazette. “As a father, was it enough? Probably not, to be honest, but justice was served today.”