Deputy Michael Hutton was ambushed May 20 by a murder suspect at a truck stop parking lot while investigating a potential robbery. He has since been discharged from the hospital, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said that he will make a full recovery and return to duty. Screenshots from Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office video. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.
A Colorado sheriff’s office just released body camera video and 911 audio from the brutal ambush of a deputy at a truck stop, carried out by a murder suspect on the run.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputy Michael Hutton, a US Air Force veteran, was dispatched to a truck stop parking lot outside Limon, Colorado, the night of May 20 after a semi-truck driver reported someone stealing items from trailers. When Hutton arrived, he briefly chatted with the driver, asking a couple of initial questions as they walked toward the trailer that had one of its doors open.
The body-worn camera video, shared Wednesday on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, shows Hutton use a flashlight to check underneath trailers near the open one. When he is a few feet from the open trailer, a hail of gunfire rings out, with bullets piercing Hutton’s lung, arm, and hand. He lets out a guttural groan, returns fire, and appears to fall to the ground multiple times as he radios in, “Shots fired! Shots fired! Officer down!”
The video cuts to 911 audio and a dispatcher radios, “Lincoln 7, status.”
A long pause goes by before the deputy responds, “[Indiscernible] again, I’m down. I have a — I’m losing blood pretty quick. I got shot about three times.”
“I’ve got AirLife heading your way, sir. You’ve got backup coming. Hang in there,” the dispatcher says.
“Yep, I’m definitely going to,” the deputy says before trailing off.
The closest responding police officers arrived 21 minutes later and immediately started first aid.
“Hey, where you hit?” one of the officers can be heard asking in the video.
“I feel it on the side,” Hutton forces out after a short delay.
“We got you, brother,” one of the other officers responds as they check Hutton for gunshot wounds.
Hutton was transported to a nearby hospital where he was stabilized, then flown to a Denver trauma center. After time in the hospital’s intensive care unit, he was discharged to continue his recovery at home on May 25, according to an LCSO Facebook post.
LCSO appeared to release the video in an attempt to dispel rumors circulating about the attack. Part of the Facebook post accompanying the video reads, “Our community has heard many things about that morning, but some portions were untrue and incorrect.”
After a manhunt, officers found the suspect, Tristin Ensinger, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Sheriff Tom Nestor said. He was located in a nearby field.
CBS Denver reported that Ensinger was on the run following a murder he is believed to have committed in Ohio just two days prior to shooting Hutton. Detectives found evidence in Ensinger’s truck connecting him to the Ohio murder. Investigators said Ensinger suffered from mental illness and drug abuse.
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
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