47 P. 284 (Colo. 1896)
On appeal, the shooter claimed he acted in self-defense because his home and store were broken into by men whom he chased outside. When the men began throwing things at him, the shooter discharged his gun into the air. The officer rushed toward the shooter, who shot the police officer in the abdomen. The shooter claimed that he thought the officer was one of the would-be robbers.
- Reversing, the court held that the jury instruction that the shooter was liable if he assaulted the police officer was error because it failed to take into account the shooter's self-defense theory.
- The shooter's evidence tended to show that the circumstances surrounding the incident could lead a reasonable man to believe his life was in danger, or that he was in danger of great bodily harm, and the shooter testified that he did so believe.
- Therefore, the shooter's justification did not rest entirely upon proof of assault by the officer.
- Further, the court held that the admission into evidence of hypothetical questions relating to the officer's wound was proper, as was testimony concerning the shooter's financial condition, because exemplary damages were possible.
The court reversed the judgment.
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