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Kiowa County Agrees to Place Zach Gifford Memorial Road Sign in Brandon

By Betsy Barnett

October 26, 2022

Two and a half years after the officer involved shooting death of Eads citizen Zach Gifford the Kiowa County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and the Gifford Family have come to a partial settlement associated with the $9.5 million civil suit secured by Gifford’s family in April 2022.

Part of the civil suit agreement between Kiowa County and the Gifford Family, beyond the monetary penalties, was a memorial paid for by the county, which at the settlement date was undefined.

In August of this year, just as the criminal case against former Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Quinten Stump, who was accused of two counts of second-degree attempted murder and one count of assault for his involvement in the Gifford incident, was going to jury trial in Kiowa County, Larry and Carla Gifford, Zach Gifford’s parents, appeared before the BOCC and requested that the memorial be a highway sign placed in Brandon, Colorado near the site of Gifford’s fatal shooting that simply reads, “In Memory of Zachary Gifford.”

In their September 29 regular meeting the BOCC agreed to pay for the sign and its placement at the site where Gifford died.

BOCC administrator Tina Adamson stated, “The sign request is currently going through the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) as required, so we don’t know for sure what the costs will be at this time.” Adamson went on to say that they expect the sign to be ready and placed within the next three months. “After that if it is determined that we need to do more than that, then we will work with the Gifford Family.”

Adamson also explained that the BOCC is still looking at a second request by the Gifford Family at this time, but nothing else has been determined as of now. “Since the BOCC met with Larry and Carla they are still looking into the ideas they mentioned.”

Neither the County nor the Gifford Family have designated a timeline for the lifetime of the memorial nor have they considered any maintenance plan beyond what would be typical for CDOT. Adamson added, “It may depend on the type of memorial we finally completely settle on, but to my knowledge nothing was defined in the settlement agreement.”

Despite Kiowa County paying out through insurance a $9.5 million civil suit, the sad saga of the Zach Gifford officer-involved shooting death in Brandon, Colorado in early April of 2020 has still not come to a conclusion after 2 ½ years of disruption within the Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office, the BOCC, the court system, various groups of community citizens, and especially the Gifford Family. The two-week long jury trial of former Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Quinten Stump in August, 2022 ended in a hung jury and will now be retried by the District Attorney’s Office during the first part of January, 2023—again in Kiowa County.

In the meantime, the BOCC and the Gifford Family are trying to move forward toward obtaining some sort of closure.

Adamson may have said it best, “It is my opinion that they feel that completing the memorial will help the entire county experience some amount of closure. For some it will remind them of Zach and their friendship. For others, it will remind them that actions have consequences, some much more than we can imagine. Every person makes choices every day, good or bad. Our choices can have an effect on many more people than we realize, and lives are forever changed.”

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