GREEN RIVER — A Green River man involved in an altercation with local law enforcement in 2018 will spend the next 7-10 years in the state penitentiary following his sentencing today in Third District Court.
Austin Pacheco pleaded guilty in June to two felony counts of aggravated assault and one felony count of interference with a police officer from an incident that occurred at the Kum-n-Go convenience store on Elk Street in November 2018. Rock Springs Police Department officers arrived at the scene after a report that a man was striking vehicles with an ax in the parking lot.
Officers were able to subdue Pacheco with three rounds of non-lethal bean bag fire, but Pacheco was also struck once in the shoulder from a service revolver during the incident.
Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erranouspe showed the court vehicle and body camera evidence while DCI Agent Dan Allison provided testimony of his investigation. Allison said law enforcement did not engage in a “sympathetic firing” at Pacheco until he threw the hatchet at police officer Tim Robinson. Allison explained that “sympathetic firing” occurs when an officer fires a weapon upon hearing a shot from a fellow officer.
The first bean bag shot did not deter Pacheco, and he advanced on Robison before throwing the ax, Allison said. The second bean bag and the shot from the service revolver occurred almost simultaneously.
Pacheco’s brother was also on the scene pleading with his brother to cooperate. Video evidence also clearly shows officers ordering Pacheco to drop the weapon at least 15 times.
Evidence also shows that Pacheco threw the ax hard enough to dent the license plate on a police vehicle, take a chip out of the asphalt in the parking lot, and break the ax handle. Allison said if Robinson hadn’t jumped out of the way he likely would have been seriously injured.
Allison also testified that the officer who fired on Pacheco with the service revolver immediately called for medical assistance. Video evidence shows that officers rush to his medical assistance as soon as Pacheco is subdued.
Allison concluded that the RSPD’s quick action probably saved Pacheco’s life, and it used extreme restraint and acted appropriately in the situation.
Death Before Dishonor
Erramouspe also shared two letters with the court that Pacheco had written to two different women since his arrest.
The first letter states that Pacheco’s actions on that day were a “suicide attempt.” He was engaging law enforcement in hopes of being killed rather than taken into custody. He used the term “death before dishonor” in the letter.
The second letter was filled with profanity and Pacheco’s blatant disdain for anyone connected to the judicial system. He did mention that he had changed since the shooting and “I don’t like that I survived, but I did.”
In his closing statement, Erramouspe told Judge Marvin Tyler he wanted to enter the video evidence so Pacheco could see what he did that day. He added Pacheco was under the influence of methamphetamine, and that “he wanted his suicide, everyone else be damned.”
Erramouspe also pointed out that in the wake of law enforcement scrutiny across America, the video evidence shows “the proper way” to handle a situation like the one on November 21, 2018.
Tyler concluded the hearing by sentencing Pacheco to 7-10 years on each of the three counts. The first aggravated assault charge and the interference with a police officer charge will run concurrently. The second aggravated assault charge was suspended in exchange for three years of supervised probation once Pacheco is released.
He was also order to pay $3,325 in restitution to three victims. He will receive 652 days credit for time served.