Law Enforcement

Eight Colorado Police Shootings in Five Weeks, Pace Faster Than 2020

The aftermath of an officer-involved shooting in April in Colorado Springs.
The aftermath of an officer-involved shooting in April in Colorado Springs.
The number of officer-involved shootings in Colorado slowed considerably after the outcry over the May 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, and the total number of police shootings in the state last year was well below the total in 2019. This statistical improvement suggested that following social justice protests in Denver and beyond, more cops were looking for ways to avoid pulling their trigger.

Unfortunately, that positive development doesn't appear to have been built to last. The rate of police shootings in Colorado has quickened considerably in 2021, especially in recent weeks. There have been eight officer-involved shootings across the state in just over a month, with the majority taking place in the Denver metro area. If the pace doesn't slow during the second half of the year, officer-involved shootings in 2021 will easily surpass those in 2020.

In December 2020, we noted that there were 28 police shootings in Colorado before Floyd's death on May 25 of that year, and another 23 in the nearly seven months that followed. That resulted in a total of 51 for the year — far fewer than the 68 in 2019.

But according to the map tracking Colorado police shootings maintained by Denver 7,  there have already been 29 police shootings in the state this year — as well as incidents in which law enforcement officers were victims of gun violence, including the May event when a Denver police officer was injured in Sunnyside and the ambush of a deputy in Lincoln County that same month.

If the next six months are equally bloody, a 2021 total of sixty or more officer-involved shootings is likely — and the total could be even higher given the escalation in incidents over recent months. There were eleven officer-involved shootings during April alone, and eight more between May 1 and June 4, including five officer-involved shootings in the metro area: three in Denver proper, and incidents in Arvada and Englewood that each resulted in a fatality.

More than a year after the death of George Floyd, it appears that shooting first and asking questions later is coming back into style.

Here's the current list of officer-involved shootings in Colorado in 2021:

January 1, 2021 — Pueblo West (injury)
January 12, 2021 — Lakewood (fatality)
January 19, 2021 — Evans (fatality)
January 26, 2021 — Adams County (fatality)
January 29, 2021 — Pueblo (injury)
March 8, 2021 — Mesa County (injury)
March 18, 2021 — Elbert County (injury)
March 21, 2021 — Clear Creek County (fatality)
March 26, 2021 — Weld County (fatality)
March 22, 2021 — Boulder (injury)
April 1, 2021 — Lakewood (injury)
April 3, 2021 — Greeley (injury)
April 3, 2021 — Douglas County (fatality)
April 5, 2021 — Colorado Springs (injury)
April 9, 2021 — Colorado Springs (injury)
April 9, 2021 — Thornton (no injuries)
April 9, 2021 — Delta County (fatality)
April 17, 2021 — Weld County (fatality)
April 19, 2021 — Colorado Springs (injury)
April 20, 2021 — Lakewood (fatality)
April 22, 2021 — Colorado Springs (fatality)
May 1, 2021 — Cañon City (fatality)
May 14, 2021 — Denver (injury)
May 18, 2021 — Englewood (fatality)
May 24, 2021 — El Paso County (injury)
May 29, 2021 — Denver (injury)
June 2, 2021 — Arvada (fatality)
June 4, 2021 — Denver (injury)
June 4, 2021 — Colorado Springs (injury)