Phillip Munoz Killed by Denver Cops, SWAT Officer John Ruddy Wounded

Yesterday afternoon, less than a week after an officer-involved shooting in Aurora that resulted in the death of a suspect — subsequently identified as Tuan Hoang — a similar incident took place in Denver.

In both instances, a police officer was injured. The Aurora case involved a cop who was bashed with a sharp object, causing a four-inch gash in his head; the Denver matter led to a SWAT officer identified by 9News as John Ruddy being shot in the leg. Both officers are expected to recover.

That's not the case for the Denver suspect, 35-year-old Phillip Munoz. He was killed after cops tried to arrest him on an outstanding assault warrant — and 7News notes that he was also wanted in Aurora for kidnapping, menacing and more.

The first official communications from the Denver Police Department came via the following tweet:

Subsequent DPD tweets recapped the incident like so: "DPD was assisting another agency in serving a warrant to an armed/dangerous suspect. Confrontation ensued.... Shots were fired. Transported officer is stable w/good prognosis."

7News supplies more specifics. According to the outlet, Denver officers were assisting colleagues in Thornton, where the assault warrant had originated.

They attempted to stop him near the intersection of West 26th Avenue and Newton Street, but Munoz — clad in a Denver sheriff's department T-shirt, for reasons that have not yet been discovered — drove away.

He didn't get far. His attempt to maneuver between a couple of homes near West 25th Avenue and Meade Street was short-circuited by the presence of a gas meter, which exploded when it was struck by Munoz's ride.

At that point, Munoz is said to have abandoned the car and started to run.

Shots followed from both sides.

We don't yet know who fired first.

However, Ruddy was struck by at least one bullet. He was originally said to be in critical condition when he was transported to an area hospital, but a later DPD tweet noted that he'd stabilized and was responding well to treatment.

Not so Munoz. He was soon pronounced dead, ending many years of interactions with the law.

Munoz's criminal record began in 1999, when he was eighteen; that's when he pleaded guilty for assault, the station reports.

Over the years that followed, Munoz had so many busts, for crimes that included kidnapping, burglary and vehicle theft, that he was eventually labeled a habitual criminal.

Thus far, none of the departments that processed Munoz over the years have released booking photos.

By the way, one resident of the neighborhood tells 7News that she was watching coverage of the San Bernardino mass shooting when the violence erupted. From one horrifying scene to another. Here's the 7News report.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts