An Iraqi immigrant who shot a Colorado police officer Thursday during a shootout has a criminal record that goes back five years – yet he avoided being deported.
Karrar Al Khammasi, 31, missed his Friday court appearance after he was hospitalized following a shootout with officers in Colorado Springs. Al Khammasi is accused of shooting Colorado Springs Officer Cem Duzel in the head early Thursday morning, leaving the cop in critical but stable condition as of Saturday, Fox News reports.
Before Thursday’s shooting, Khammasi was known to immigration enforcement officials due to his nine prior contacts with police, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
His first incident was in 2013, when he was charged with drunken driving. About a month later, Khammasi was charged with criminal extortion where investigators believe he threatened a man and his family and set a car on fire.
A family in Colorado Springs so scared of the same man, they once got a restraining order. When they heard what happened early Wednesday morning, they were shocked and even more so when they saw the suspect’s name.
Mohanad Qanbar says back in 2013 Khammasi threatened his family and then set a car on fire in front of their home.
“My wife called me, I was working at Colorado College on the night shift. She told me your car is on fire, the police and fire department is here. I ran home, everyone is safe. The car is burning,” Qanbar said.
Khammasi pleaded guilty to trespassing, but was never charged the arson case. Qanbar ended up filing a civil suit and got a temporary protection order.
“He broke down and said okay, I did it. I’ll compensate you if you let it go. He did, he paid me for my burned car,” Qanbar said.
When they heard about the shooting of an officer and that Khammasi was the suspect his family couldn’t believe it.
His family sends their prayers to the officer who was injured.
“I hope he will be okay. I really feel sorry for him. I really pray for you. You know, not all brown are bad, not all white are bad, not all black are bad it just happens that way sometimes, deal with unfortunate situations,” Qanbar said.
The family says they are relieved to hear the suspect was caught after what happened.
Court records stated Khammasi was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to first-degree trespassing of a dwelling in 2014. Khammasi was on an immigration hold that day.
His criminal history continued this year when Khammasi was arrested in January for allegedly possessing a stolen handgun. He posted $1,000 cash bail in February and was free until Thursday’s shooting. His Friday court appearance was on the gun charge.
It’s unclear, however, if or why Khammasi was not deported in the five years.
Khammasi was charged with attempted first-degree murder, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and felony menacing on Friday. He is being held without bond, Fox News reported.