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Former Texas firefighter sentenced to 6 years in prison for killing fellow firefighter

Evan Gaw apologized before he was sentenced in the shooting death of former Odessa Firefighter Michael Mack


Gaw was sentenced to six years in the Colorado Department of Corrections with three years of parole.

Photo/Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office

Odessa American, Texas

ODESSA, Texas — In a Colorado courtroom on Wednesday morning, former Odessa firefighter Evan Gaw apologized before he was sentenced in the shooting death of former Odessa firefighter Michael Mack.

Gaw was sentenced to six years in the Colorado Department of Corrections with three years of parole. He was credited for 22 days of jail time served.

The sentencing hearing took place at 8:30 a.m. (mountain time) Wednesday morning in the 10th Judicial District Chief Judge Deborah Eyler of Division 502 in Pueblo, Colo.

The 10th Judicial District emailed a copy of the plea agreement for Gaw, which detailed “the defendant pleads guilty to count number two of the information, which charges a violation of C.R.S. 18-3-104(1)(a), as amended (a class four felony), in that the defendant committed the offense of Manslaughter.”

The plea agreement also details that Gaw understands that he may not request nor receive reconsideration or reduction of the sentence at a later time.

Gaw, who was previously clean shaven as he was an active firefighter, had a full beard in the courtroom. Gaw was visibly distraught as he needed a box of tissues as he constantly wiped away tears.

Gaw was given the chance to speak before Judge Eyler announced his prison sentence. “I would take it back a million times. I would do anything to change it. I’m sorry and I will always love him. I understand that people are mad at me. I’m sorry. God bless everybody.”

Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a shots fired call at 10:26 p.m. Nov. 11, 2020, at the KOA campgrounds located at 4131 N. Interstate 25, space D-2, in Pueblo West, Colo.

The arrest affidavit detailed that Gaw was screaming that he shot his best friend and during a struggle with deputies he told them “I’m not afraid to die.” Gaw was tased and taken into custody where he said “I’m high as balls.” Gaw told deputies multiple times that he had taken 3.2 grams of shrooms.

Gaw stated that “Mack had grabbed his gun and was trying to kill him,” the affidavit detailed. Gaw also stated that a wrestling match ensued over the gun. During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Gaw’s attorney detailed that Gaw suffered a broken jaw while the two were wrestling over the gun.

Gaw stated he called his wife, Sarah Gaw, after he shot his friend. Evan Gaw told his wife that he was taking his clothes off and she told him to put them back on. Sarah Gaw told deputies that “he wasn’t making much sense.”

Sarah Gaw told deputies over the phone that her husband and Mack were “best friends” and “like brothers.” She didn’t know why they had traveled to Colorado. She only knew they had taken time off of work to go.

The affidavit from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office detailed deputies were told by a complainant that they heard a “loud pop” followed by a man screaming and sounding panicked. The man was later identified as Gaw who was screaming how he had just shot his friend.

Gaw was standing naked in 28-degree Fahrenheit weather and 50 feet from where Mack was found, the affidavit stated.

A deputy noted a red 2015 Mazda SUV with the passenger side door open, the affidavit stated. Mack was lying on his right side with his head facing to the northeast and his feet curled behind him facing southeast. Mack looked to be in the fetal position.

Mack had bloody, matted hair on the left side of his head toward the temple with blood coming out of his left ear, the affidavit stated. Mack’s eyes were shut.

As deputies were clearing the Mazda SUV, they could hear Gaw screaming about God and how he was going to go to heaven, the affidavit stated. Gaw was shifting his weight from one foot to another in a fighting stance as well as throwing his arms out in what deputies thought to be a fighting stance.

Deputies gave repeated, loud verbal commands to Gaw and ordered him to show his hands and lay on the ground, the affidavit stated. Gaw continued to yell he had only smoked marijuana.

Gaw placed his hands in the air to ensure there weren’t any weapons in his hands, however, deputies didn’t know where the firearm was, the affidavit stated.

Deputies gave Gaw multiple verbal commands to prone out on the ground, the affidavit stated. Gaw got on his knees and deputies told him to lie down on the ground.

Once Gaw was on the ground, he interlaced his fingers and tucked his arms underneath him to prevent deputies from lacing him in hand restraints, the affidavit stated. Gaw continued to make statements about God and heaven.

Deputies tried to muscle Gaw’s hands out from underneath him, the affidavit stated. Deputies were able to place one cuff on his left hand, however, he continued to refuse to place his hands behind his back.

Gaw had started to use his forearm to lift himself off the ground, the affidavit stated. He continued to state “I’m not afraid to die” and attempted to continuously push himself up off the ground.

During the struggle, Gaw got himself back up onto his feet, the affidavit stated. A deputy deployed a taser and one prong stuck to Gaw’s left arm, but it didn’t appear the other prong had contacted him. Gaw continued to actively fight with deputies by flailing his arms and trying to pull out of the deputy’s grip. Gaw also continued to spin toward deputies while they tried to regain control of him.

Gaw continued to struggle and fight with deputies until he was placed into handcuffs. Gaw uttered a statement about how he had never killed anyone and stated he was going to be going to heaven. Gaw also mentioned how one of the deputies was a “good soul.”

After the struggle, deputies placed Gaw into the back seat of a marked patrol vehicle. Gaw continued to throw himself around the inside of the patrol vehicle while screaming incoherently.

Once Gaw calmed down, American Medical Response personnel were called back to the scene to remove the taser prong from his left arm, the affidavit stated. While he was being medically evaluated, Gaw uttered that he took 3.2 grams of “Shrooms.” Gaw later stated that he took the “Shrooms” around 9 (though it was unclear if it was day or night) and stated he was surprised he was still high.

As Gaw was being transported to the investigation annex, he began to ramble that he wasn’t afraid to die and the aliens were coming to get him. Gaw also stated he had taken 3.2 grams of shrooms and he was high as balls. He continued to repeat that he wasn’t afraid to die and he had taken 3.2 grams of shrooms.

Upon arrival to the annex, Gaw was interviewed on video and audio. Deputies were waiting for Gaw to be interviewed when he began to state “I’m sorry I killed my best friend in the whole world.” Gaw continued to state “I’ve taken 3.2 grams of shrooms. I’m high as balls.”

Gaw was transported to Parkview Medical Center for medical clearance and while waiting for the medical clearance Gaw stated “I’m sorry I killed my best friend Michael Patrick Mack. Michael grabbed my gun and I told Michael to put it down. After Michael put the gun down, I grabbed because Michael was going to kill me. Michael and I began to wrestle for the gun and it went off, shooting Michael in the head.” Gaw continued to state “I heard the gun cock and I asked Michael why did you grab that? Why did you grab the gun.”

A doctor at Parkview Medical Center was trying to ask medical questions to treat Gaw and he began making statements and talking over the doctor, the affidavit stated. Gaw stated his best friend tried to murder him. Gaw described having a little fire going and how his hand was about to catch on fire. Gaw also described this fire as being a food warming type device used to keep food warm.

Gaw told his friend they had to get outside, the affidavit stated. Gaw thought his friend said something but didn’t go into detail about what was said then said he told his friend to grab his backpack and commented they both need to get dressed. Gaw stated his friend reached into his backpack then hearing the noise of a gun being cocked.

Gaw asked his friend “Why did you grab that man, why did you grab the gun,” the affidavit detailed. Gaw described wrestling his friend and his friend being the person holding the gun. Gaw then started talking as if he now had possession of the gun and said he “put the gun to his head.” Gaw stated I’ll stop, I’ll stop and put the gun down. Gaw stated this as if he was describing some kind of agreement during the alleged wrestling match that he had with his friend.

Gaw uttered that he shot his friend and that he told his friend he didn’t “do this.” Gaw repeated that he killed his friend because his friend was trying to murder him.

While telling this story, Gaw had told two different stories where the gun was retrieved from. One was the gun was in Gaw’s backpack and the other was that the gun was in Gaw’s boots all day and commented now that he didn’t know how his friend even got the gun. Gaw also made inconsistent statements about who the gun belonged to. One was that the gun belonged to his friend and this statement was recanted by Gaw because he said “no” the gun belonged to him.

Gaw was in a drug induced mental state and would also repeat that what is happening right now is a dream, the world has reset, and a statement about an alien.

Gaw also spoke again about when he heard a gun cock and he stated when he heard the sound he asked his friend what that was and his friend told him it was the sound of a “water bottle.” Gaw also talked about calling his wife, Sarah Gaw, after he shot his friend and telling her what happened.

Gaw was medically cleared and was transported at 2:34 a.m. to the judicial center.

Deputies made contact with Sarah Gaw and she stated she received a phone call from her husband at 11:21 p.m. (central time), but didn’t hear anything on the line.

Sarah Gaw stated in the affidavit that she called her husband right back at which time he stated “Mike was going to shoot me, I had to shoot him. I had to defend myself.” Evan Gaw then told his wife the cops were coming and he was removing his clothes.

Sarah Gaw told her husband to put his clothes back on and stated “he wasn’t making much sense.” Sarah Gaw was able to hear the responding deputies arrive. She went on to say that Mack had a history of depression and had attempted suicide in the past. She also was asked if her husband was on any type of medication or had a history of drug use to which she said “not that I know of.”

Sarah Gaw didn’t know why they had traveled to Colorado, the affidavit stated. She only knew they had taken time off of work to go. More than once during her conversation with deputies she stated Mack and her husband were “best friends” and “like brothers.”


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