Blas Leroux police-shooting decision letter: "Today, I am going to die"
Now, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has issued a decision letter that calls the shooting justified even though Leroux was unarmed.
See photos, a video, the decision letter and more below.
On the morning of January 17, the document maintains, Leroux entered the 7-Eleven, located at 1490 Perry Street. He spent several minutes inside the store before approaching the manager and saying, "Give me your keys."
Naturally, she turned down Leroux's request. His reported response? ""I don't want to scare you, but I have a gun."
At that point, the manager warned a co-worker to stay away from Leroux, then hit an emergency button behind the counter to summon police. The other worker also dialed 911.
Meanwhile, Karen Kahmeyer, described as a pastry vendor, entered the store. The manager warned her about Leroux, too, confiding, "I'm really scared, because that guy says he has a gun."
Moments later, a Denver police officer entered, prompting Leroux to go after Kahmeyer. He's said to have chased her, grabbed the back of her jacket and held her with his left hand while his right hand was in his sweatshirt pocket, simulating a handgun.
When Kahmeyer struggled to escape, Leroux is quoted as telling her, "That's the gun in your back, so you better stop. You better stop or I will shoot."
This is the profile photo on Blas Leroux's Facebook page.
The cop called for backup. Meanwhile, according to the letter's narrative, Leroux allegedly headed back to the manager's office with Kahmeyer still under his control and said, "Open up or I'll shoot her." Kahmeyer also remembered him saying, "Today, I am going to die" not just once, but on several occasions over the course of the crisis.
Finally, after around fifty minutes had passed, and with a slew of police surrounding the business, Leroux took Kahmeyer's keys and tried to guide her outside to the van she'd driven to the store, using her as a shield during the process.
Once they'd left the store, police ordered Leroux to put his hands up and release his hostage -- and while he didn't comply, Kahmeyer struggled to free herself, and managed to open up some distance between them.
At that point, the report notes, an officer armed with a M4 .223 caliber rifle squeezed off one round. The bullet struck Leroux in the neck, taking him to the ground and allowing Kahmeyer to run to safety.
Why did Leroux take the actions he did? As we've previously reported, he had a long rap sheet, and had only been released from confinement a few short months earlier. During the standoff, he called a number of people, including his mom and stepfather, to stress that he wouldn't go back to prison.
One more thing: A post-mortem toxicology report on Leroux revealed that he had meth in his system.
In the aftermath.
Regarding the shoot itself, Morrissey determined that even though Leroux didn't actually have a gun in his possession, he led his victim and law enforcers to believe that he did -- something confirmed by surveillance footage from the store.
"As can be seen on the videos of this incident, Mr. Leroux was in the act of kidnapping Ms. Kahmeyer," Morrissey writes. "For almost fifty minutes in the store and up to the point of the shooting, Mr. Leroux terrorized Ms. Kahmeyer and convinced her and others he was armed with a handgun. While this was a senseless event brought on by Mr. Leroux which ended tragically for him and his family, it was responded to appropriately, skillfully and heroically."
Here's the complete decision letter, followed by a larger version of Leroux's mug shot and 7News coverage about the incident and Leroux's death.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa September 2013: "Video: Fourth recent officer-involved shooting targets burglar at detective's home."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- What Hospitals Don't Tell Patients and Their Families When Things Go Wrong
Fri., Sep. 4, 7:00pm
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:00am
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:30pm
Sat., Sep. 5, 7:30pm
- Larry Stevenson, Mayor's Ex-Best Man, Gets Wrist Slap After Bribery Charge
- Karla Ceballos Accused of Letting Her Baby Drown While She Cleaned Kitchen