Update: Gordon Moench allegedly lured cops to ambush with threat to "kill a bunch of people"
Update: Yesterday, we shared information from a Lakewood Police Department spokesman about a Saturday night incident during which an apparently suicidal Gordon Moench shot two LPD officers before being taken down by one of their colleagues; see our previous coverage below.
We've now obtained Moench's arrest affidavit, on view here, in which we learn that the suspect himself called 911 not once but twice -- first to say he was "ready to kill a bunch of people" and secondly to request help for his victims.
At 9:41 p.m. on July 5, according to the affidavit, Moench's wife phoned 911 to say she and her husband were in the process of separating -- and his response was to declare he no longer wanted to live. He also allegedly told her that if she called police, "there was going to 'be a battle.'" But she did so anyhow -- and phoned a second time after Gordon is said to have sent his son a text message "stating he was going to kill him."
Gordon Moench. His full-sized booking photo is included in our previous coverage below.
Minutes later, at about 9:55 p.m., another 911 call came in, this time from someone identifying himself as "Gordon." The police report quotes him as saying there was a "guy out front" of a home on the 9700 block of West Jewell Place "with a gun ready to kill a bunch of people" -- and that guy was him. He revealed that he was hiding in his truck and had three guns, which he figured was "enough to hurt a lot of people."
When the dispatcher asked him why he wanted to injure anyone, he replied: "Good question. I tell you what, you'll find out when you get here."
Officers Jonathan Key and Kimberly Collins were sent to the area to deal with Moench's threat. As Key drove onto the street, he switched off the lights of his cruiser in an attempt to make his approach more stealthy, but it didn't help. Bullets smashed into and through the vehicle's windshield, with Key struck by gunfire in the arm and chest.
At that point, the affidavit continues, Key bailed out of the car, which continued rolling until it hit a pickup and a Subaru parked nearby. He subsequently radioed about shots fired and tied a tourniquet to his arm.
Meanwhile, Collins reportedly parked her car and moved toward Moench's house on foot. But within seconds, a gunshot struck her in the leg and she collapsed onto the sidewalk.
Afterward, Moench seems to have felt pangs of remorse. He abandoned the truck and called 911 again, telling the operator, "God, I apologize. I hit that cop and now it's too far." He noted that he was walking down the middle of the road and "has to die now." Asked if he would talk to officers on the way, he replied, "They're going to have to kill me."
On the subject of the injured cops, he added, "Can you get them some help?"
At around that time, another law enforcer, ID'd as Agent Luke Godrey, arrived at the scene and spotted Moench. After taking cover, the report says Godfrey ordered Moench to drop his gun, and when he refused to comply and instead pointed it in the agent's direction, he opened fire. Moench was hit in the chest.
The next morning, Moench was hospitalized but in stable condition and able to speak with an investigator. The affidavit quotes him as saying he'd used guns since age twelve and had taken numerous hunters safety courses over the years -- but he allegedly acknowledged several times that he'd "shot two cops," was evil and deserved to go to hell.
As for what started his downhill spiral, he explained that he and his wife had been arguing about their son, among other things, and he'd grown so despondent that he decided to kill himself by overdosing on insulin; he's a diabetic. He spent the previous night in the family trailer so his wife wouldn't wake up to find his dead body, he told the affidavit's author, but woke up to discover he'd failed to take his own life.
On the evening of the 5th, Moench said he'd argued with his wife, as well as his son and some of the latter's friends. Once the group left, he told his wife he intended to commit "suicide by cop" and "knew exactly" what he was doing.
Not quite. Yesterday, he was in a wheelchair but well enough to make his first court appearance. He's being held on two counts apiece of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault on a police officer plus felony menacing. Formal charges are pending.
Look below to see 7News' most recent report about Moench, followed by the arrest affidavit and our previous coverage.
Continue for our previous coverage of the Gordon Moench shootings, including photos and a video. Original post, 9:50 a.m. July 8: Lakewood's Gordon Moench is scheduled to make his first court appearance this morning after allegedly shooting two police officers before being put down by a third.
One of the two Lakewood cops remains hospitalized, and while she's expected to survive, a police spokesman says her recovery could be lengthy. Here's the latest.
"It was in every sense of the word an ambush," says Steve Davis, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department, about what happened shortly before 10 p.m. on July 5. "The male suspect" -- now identified as Moench, who'll turn 55 next week -- "and his wife were arguing earlier, and it got to the point where she felt frightened enough that she left and went to a different location."
Moench's wife "had some concerns," Davis continues. "I don't know if she felt he was suicidal, but he was certainly despondent, and before she left, she had knowledge that he'd gone and gotten a couple of weapons out of a gun cabinet."
As such, Lakewood officers Jonathan Key and Kimberly Collins knew as they sped to the scene that they would likely confront an armed suspect. But as Davis tells the tale, they didn't realize Moench had left his home and was walking along the street several properties west of his residence upon their arrival -- or that he saw no reason to delay pulling the trigger.
"Officer Key pulled onto the street" -- the 9700 block of West Jewell Place -- "and he was hit by a round that came through the windshield of his patrol car," Davis says. "And Officer Collins was shot after that. She was on foot and was heading toward his residence when she was wounded.
"Neither of those officers fired a round at him," he adds. "They never had any contact and certainly no communication before shots were fired."
Collins's injuries were the most severe of the two, but Davis notes that "she was able to get to her radio and give us the information that she'd been hit and was down. And as you can imagine, quite a few officers responded to the scene," with the first to arrive (he hasn't been named yet) shooting Moench.
Shortly thereafter, Moench and the two officers were transported to a nearby medical facility. Key was released that same night and is currently recuperating at home, although Davis doesn't expect him to be back on duty anytime soon. The same goes for Collins, who is still hospitalized at this writing. (The LPD isn't releasing photos of the officers at their request.)
"She'll be there for quite some time," Davis says. "I haven't heard a timeline yet, but she's got a longer recovery and she knows that. She's already had several surgeries, and I don't know if there will be more; I'd guess there will be. But her family's around her -- most if not all of them live elsewhere and traveled here to be with her -- and she's getting a lot of support from other members of the department."
As for Moench, Davis points out that "he was released from the hospital yesterday and immediately arrested and transported to Jefferson County jail on a multitude of charges: counts of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault on a peace officer, felony menacing and on and on and on."
These allegations aren't final: Charges will ultimately be determined by the First Judicial District DA's office. However, a "shoot team" is already analyzing the incident -- standard operating procedure whenever officer-involved gunplay takes place -- and members of the LPD are laying the groundwork for an internal inquiry.
According to Davis, "Whenever something like this happens, we staff it, we critique it, we look at it and take it apart bit by bit: every single move and the response not only by the people on the street, but by our communication center, too. Every aspect is looked at to see if we can learn anything and do it better next time."
Lessons may be more difficult to glean from the Moench matter than other shootings of its sort. There's been no suicide-by-cop determination thus far, and Davis pointedly declines to use the term. But if investigators ultimately decide Moench was trying to goad one of the officers into killing him, the circumstances differ considerably from, for instance, the death of Christopher George in Boulder County this past December.
In George's case, he spoke to deputies on the scene and actually told them he was unarmed. But no negotiations or conversations with Moench had gotten underway when lead started flying, making debate about a less lethal response essentially moot.
For now, Davis says colleagues of Key and Collins are still struggling to process the events.
"A lot of people forget that we are just as human as anyone else," he says, "and when you have two of your employees injured in that manner, it affects everyone. We've got a department of over 400 people who are hurting. It shakes us, but we continue, because that's what we do. We keep going out there and trying to make a difference. And these people, sadly enough, exist, and we're the ones who seem to end up dealing with them -- more and more often, I might add."
Here's a larger look at Moench's booking photo, followed by a 7News report about the shooting.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.