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Coroner's report declares Burnett death a homicide

Published July 23, 2020
No charges filed as the investigation continues into the former Colorado Cyclist employee's death in police custody.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — The death of a former Colorado Cyclist product line manager after an altercation with police was ruled a homicide by the El Paso County Coroner's Office, but no charges have been filed as the investigation continues.

According to the coroner's report, Chad Burnett died after Colorado Springs police used a Taser when he resisted arrest during a disturbance call on May 24. The El Paso County coroner said because the death occurred during the altercation and involved a Taser, it's a homicide.

The District Attorney's Office and El Paso County Sheriff's Office are continuing to investigate the incident involving the five officers, who were placed on administrative leave.

"It is my opinion that Chad Burnett, a 49-year-old white male, died as a result of sudden death associated with physical altercation, Taser deployment, cardiac hypertrophy with myocardial fibrosis, and bipolar disorder featuring acute psychotic episode," the El Paso County coroner wrote in the autopsy report. "Because his death occurred during a physical altercation with other persons, including the use of a Taser, the manner of death is homicide (death at the hands of another person or persons)."

The report said Burnett suffered blunt force injuries, including a muscular hemorrhage to the side and front of his head, and abrasions and contusions to the face, torso and upper and lower extremities. Alcohol also was in his system postmortem, but the amount was not listed.

Neighbors called police to the 2700 block of Ashgrove Street about Burnett, who was threatening another neighbor with a knife. Body cam footage released last week showed officers first speaking with Burnett outside his home before chasing him inside and tackling him. Resisting arrest, officers Tasered the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Burnett.

About nine minutes later, Burnett was limp. Two officers checked for his pulse and both said they felt one. Six minutes later, they rolled him on his back and three officers were shown taking turns doing chest compressions as the video ended. Burnett was pronounced dead at the scene.

Burnett left Colorado Cyclist last November to start a mobile bike-fitting business, Chaz Pro Bike Fit. On the Chaz Pro Bike Fit website, Burnett said he was a 20-year industry veteran.

Chad Burnett died in police custody on May 24.

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