By Kaitlin Durbin The Gazette
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A man accused of shooting a Colorado Springs police officer in the head last month was reportedly bragging about it while in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.
Karrar Al Khammasi twice made contemptuous and “anti-police” comments toward officers who were guarding him in the hospital, police officers and El Paso County sheriff’s deputies testified Wednesday during a 2½-hour preliminary hearing.
One of the times, Al Khammasi reportedly described shooting cops as “what I do,” and threatened to kill a deputy and other officers.
Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Jann DuBois ruled enough evidence was presented for Al Khammasi to stand trial in the Aug. 2 shooting of Colorado Springs police officer Cem Duzel.
Duzel, 30, is recovering in Craig Hospital in Englewood.
Al Khammasi, 31, is set to be arraigned at 9 a.m. on Nov. 30 on charges of attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon, felony menacing and illegal possession of a weapon.
Al Khammasi is an Iraqi immigrant who appears to have lived in the Pikes Peak region for five years and had at least nine contacts with police, two of which were explained in court: illegal possession of a firearm from January and a 2013 felony conviction for criminal trespassing.
He remains in the El Paso County jail without bond.
Duzel’s father was in the courtroom and sighed deeply during testimony about Al Khammasi’s disparaging comments toward police.
Al Khammasi was silent and motionless, listening through headphones as testimony was translated into Arabic. He was shot in the upper back and possibly in the arm and was wheeled into the courtroom in a padded gown known to be worn by inmates in danger of harming themselves.
His demeanor in the courtroom was opposite to how he was described by law enforcement and other witnesses prior to shooting Duzel.
They said Al Khammasi started the evening at Skybox Lounge on East Bijou Street, drinking roughly four beers until the bar closed and he crossed Platte Avenue to go to the Angry Pirate Bar. There, he drank another beer and two shots before calling for an Uber ride home.
A woman at the bar told officers Al Khammasi was being “touchy” and then became “confrontational” when the Uber driver, Carrie Ward, arrived with her doors locked. He reportedly made several derogatory remarks toward Ward, prompting her to ask him three times to get out.
The woman from the bar followed Al Khammasi in her vehicle as he walked down Platte Avenue to Prairie Road. She heard several gunshots and saw him placing a gun into his waistband.
Several spent shell casings, similar to the live rounds later pulled from Al Khammasi’s pocket, were found outside three different businesses across the six-block area where he is said to have walked.
Ward didn’t hear the gunshots but was trying to flag down officers in the area to report Al Khammasi being “aggressive” and “threatening” when she saw them turn down the road where he last was, according to security video from her vehicle. Seconds later, there’s a burst of gunfire, followed by two others.
More than 80 photos shown in court depicted the aftermath, showing two separate pools of blood where Duzel and Al Khammasi fell “simultaneously” and the spread of spent shell casings and two guns between them.
Prosecutors noted that Duzel and a second officer fired police-issued 9 mm handguns, which discharged silver casings that didn’t match the other brassy, 40-caliber casings in the area.