Denver sheriff deputy fired after lying about missing department AR-15 rifle, which has never been found

A Denver sheriff deputy was fired last week for lying to investigators about what happened to a department-owned semi-automatic AR-15 rifle that has been missing for almost two years.

Brandon Hudson, who had been a deputy with the department since 2011, was fired last week for telling internal affairs investigators varying stories about what happened to the rifle, which was last assigned to him, according to a Denver Public Safety Department disciplinary letter.

Hudson first said he turned the rifle into the training academy but couldn’t remember whom he gave it to. He later said that he left the rifle in an empty room at the academy because nobody was there to receive the gun.

“By departing from the truth or intentionally omitting information about the return of the weapon, Deputy Hudson failed to live up to his responsibility as a deputy sheriff, he violated the public trust, and acted contrary to the guiding principles of the Department,” Deputy Director of Public Safety Mary Dulacki wrote in the April 21 letter. “His deceptive conduct demonstrates a lack of integrity, ethics and character which render him unfit to hold the position of deputy sheriff.”

The absence of the weapon was revealed during a 2018 inventory of the sheriff department’s armories. Department officials then contacted Hudson because he was the last known person to be assigned the rifle.

Over a series of interviews, Hudson said that he turned the weapon into someone at the training academy after finishing an assignment more than a year before the rifle was discovered missing, the letter shows. But no records confirmed the rifle was received at the academy and no staff members remembered receiving a rifle from Hudson.

“When asked who in training took receipt of the weapon, Deputy Hudson said he could not recall and became agitated, raising his voice, using profanity, asking why it was just discovered that the gun was missing, and saying that this happened over a year ago,” the letter states, describing an internal interview.

Hudson later said that he did not turn the weapon into a person, but instead left it leaning against a wall in a room at the academy.

“Deputy Hudson was asked if leaving the rifle in the office was the safe thing to do and he replied, ‘Absolutely,’” the letter states.

Public safety officials did not agree with that decision making.

“Assuming that Deputy Hudson’s latest version of events that he left the weapon unattended in an office at the Training Academy is accurate, he was careless and negligent in the handling of the weapon,” the letter states.

A Denver police investigation found that the rifle was never reported stolen or registered to a new owner.

Hudson was fired for lying during the investigation, which superceded the 10-day suspension he received for losing the gun. His firing was first reported by television station KDVR.

“The weapon has not been recovered and is considered lost,” Dulacki wrote in the letter. “Somewhere, there is a deadly weapon in the hands of an unauthorized party which equates to a ‘demonstrable risk’ to public safety.”

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