Colo. police: Texas FF accused of killing coworker was high, claimed self-defense
Odessa Firefighter Evan Gaw, charged with the murder of Odessa Firefighter Michael Mack, reportedly told police he had taken 3.2 grams of “shrooms” and struggled with Mack over a gun
Odessa American, Texas
PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. — A Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office affidavit detailed the 30-year-old Odessa firefighter who was arrested in connection to the shooting death of a fellow Odessa firefighter was high and naked when deputies arrested him.
Evan Gaw was charged with second degree murder, a second-degree felony, and booked into the Pueblo County Judicial Intake Center. He has one bond totaling $250,000 and was still in custody as of Friday afternoon, jail records show.
Deputies were dispatched to a shots fired call at 10:26 p.m. (mountain time) Wednesday at the KOA campgrounds located at 4131 N. Interstate 25, space D-2, in Pueblo West, Colo., the affidavit detailed.
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 reportedly tased and taken into custody where he said “I’m high as balls.” Gaw reportedly told deputies multiple times that he had taken 3.2 grams of shrooms.
Gaw stated that Michael Patrick 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.
Gaw stated he called his wife, Sarah Gaw, after he shot his friend. Evan Gaw reportedly 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 reportedly didn’t know why they had traveled to Colorado. She only knew they had taken time off of work to go.
Odessa Fire Rescue Chief John Alvarez said that Gaw’s job status remains in a holding pattern. Alvarez said in addition to the investigation by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office that OFR will also conduct its own investigation.
"(Gaw) hasn’t reached out to us yet,” Alvarez said. “It’s going to be outside criminal investigation, but we as a department will also conduct an internal investigation as well and see if there’s any policies or procedures that were violated internally.”
A previous Odessa American article detailed that Gaw was part of OFR’s badge pinning ceremony on Feb. 3, while Alvarez said over the phone that Mack started Jan. 27 as a cadet and then went on Central Station’s “C” shift in March.
Alvarez said Mack was a quiet person, but he got along with everyone and was a team player.
“He was a very dedicated employee,” Alvarez said. “He loved his job. He loved his department. He loved the citizens of this community.”
The Odessa American obtained the affidavit from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
The affidavit summary begins as deputies were reportedly 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 reportedly noted a red 2015 Mazda SUV with the passenger side door open. 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 reportedly hear Gaw screaming about God and how he was going to go to heaven. 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.
Deputies reportedly gave Gaw multiple verbal commands to prone out on the ground. 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 reportedly tried to muscle Gaw’s hands out from underneath him. 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 life 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 reportedly got himself back up onto his feet. 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 reportedly 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 prone 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 reportedly 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 reportedly told his friend they had to get outside. 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 friends 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 reportedly uttered that he shot his friend and that he told his friend he didn’t to “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 reportedly 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 reportedly 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 reportedly 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.”
Officials in Pueblo did not return phone calls questioning if Sarah Gaw meant to say Mack had a history of depression or if it was a typo and that she meant her husband had a history of depression.
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.”
(c)2020 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)