Editorial: El Paso County coroner needs to release records of tragic shooting

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Thomas Villanueva’s life will never be the same. He will suffer every day for the rest of his life from a bullet that pierced his spine and left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Doctors predict he will never walk again.

Villanueva, 28, has one simple request. He wants information. He wants to know why and how his life was so permanently altered.

To help answer this question, he needs a file that belongs to him and the rest of the public. This should be no ordeal, but El Paso County Coroner Robert Bux has sealed the records Villanueva needs.

Others want the records. The Gazette and the Colorado Springs Independent have each hired legal counsel to pursue the records in court. This was a high-profile shooting that took from us a respected public servant. We need to know what happened and why.

Here’s what we know: A bullet paralyzed Villanueva during a February gunfight that killed sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick and suspected car thief Manuel Zetina. Villanueva was an innocent bystander, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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