Law Enforcement

Anthony Edwards Killed Himself as Aurora Cops Shot at Him, Denver Police Say

The scene of the September 24 shooting.
The scene of the September 24 shooting. 9News via YouTube
Most agencies tasked with investigating a police shooting by officers from another law enforcement organization tend to keep quiet until that investigation is complete. But on September 27, the Denver Police Department shared additional information about a fatal shooting involving Aurora Police Department officers within Denver city limits.

The DPD release confirms that a pair of Aurora cops shot at a suspect identified as 31-year-old Anthony Edwards and hit him at least once. But the Denver department, which has been assigned to look into the case along with the Denver District Attorney's Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado State Patrol, also reports that Edwards's cause of death was suicide resulting from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head that appears to have been inflicted while he was taking fire.

Beginning at 4:24 p.m. on September 24, the Aurora Police Twitter account issued a series of alerts about an officer-involved shooting in the area of East Alameda Avenue and South Galena Street, close to Aurora. Just over two hours later, Denver Police division chief Ron Thomas, who was assigned to handle day-to-day operations at the DPD following the announced retirement of Chief Paul Pazen, emceed a press conference about what had gone down. According to Thomas, Aurora cops approached a vehicle they believed had been stolen, prompting one of the two occupants to flee. When he arrived at a fence, Thomas said, the suspect allegedly brandished a firearm, prompting the officers to shoot him. The man was declared dead at a nearby hospital a short time later.

Here's a video of the press conference tweeted by the DPD:
The DPD's update is much more specific. The sequence of events started when Aurora officers "observed a suspected stolen Hyundai Elantra with no plates in the area of East Exposition Avenue and South Ironton Street in Aurora," it notes. Two adult males were inside the vehicle, which was later determined to have been reported stolen in Denver back in June.

Around 3:30 p.m., the car parked at a gas station at the intersection of Alameda and South Galena. Edwards went inside the store, and as he was exiting, the Aurora officers, who were in uniform, moved in his direction. Edwards reacted by running across Galena into an empty parking lot as the cops "verbally identified themselves as police officers and gave commands to stop," the release continues.

According to the DPD update, Edwards then "drew a handgun and pointed it at officers," prompting one of them to squeeze off a shot. It's "unknown" if the bullet struck Edwards, who then ran northbound across Alameda while "pointing the handgun at officers."

In response, the update continues, "Two APD officers fired a combined five rounds at this time, and simultaneously, Mr. Edwards raised his handgun to his own head and fired once." The shot proved fatal.

In all, one of the Aurora officers fired two rounds while the other fired four. The DPD acknowledges that Edwards was struck, but notes that "the number and location of the gunshot injuries caused by officers' gunfire is part of the...investigation" conducted by Denver's Office of the Medical Examiner, which announced its suicide determination yesterday.

The other occupant of the Hyundai was initially detained but later released. Meanwhile, the probe into the shooting is ongoing. "Once completed, the investigative findings will be sent to the Denver District Attorney’s Office for determination as to whether the officers’ actions complied with state law," the DPD update states.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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

Latest Stories