Claim: "Stolen" Car That Led to Ramone Lonergan's Death by Cops Not Stolen

Update: A Denver Police Department representative has clarified the incidents that led up to the fatal shooting of Ramone Lonergan.

The department maintains that the Toyota RAV4 from which Lonergan allegedly emerged while holding a gun was never reported stolen — something that was confirmed in our original update by Shanon Standy, his girlfriend, but was widely misreported.

The DPD says its officers were on the scene of a Ramada Inn near Speer and Zuni when they spotted a different Toyota that was stolen: a 4Runner, which was parked in the lot at the back of the hotel.

Meanwhile, a separate, unrelated report of fraud brought other officers to the Ramada — and investigators believe the RAV4, which was parked in a lot at the front of the hotel, was associated with that alleged crime.

This suggests a link between Lonergan and the fraud — but Standy insists that he had nothing to do with such a crime. See her statements on that subject in our previous coverage, which has been tweaked in light of the DPD's clarification.

Update, 7:35 a.m. January 15: Yesterday, we told you about a police shooting that killed Ramone Lonergan; see our previous coverage below.

After the publication of our original item, we were contacted by Shanon Standy, Lonergan's girlfriend, who offered new information about the case and the person at the center of it.

Notably, she says that a vehicle involved in the shooting that was mistakenly reported as stolen wasn't actually stolen at all. Rather, it was hers.

As we detail below, the incident took place on Monday, January 11, when police officers patrolling the parking lot of a Ramada Inn near Speer and Zuni spotted a stolen vehicle.

Meanwhile, officers were inside the Ramada dealing with a separate report of alleged credit-card fraud that was allegedly connected with Toyota RAV4 also parked outside the Ramada.

Officers subsequently saw a man, later identified as Lonergan, emerging from the RAV4.

Lonergan allegedly tried to flee and was armed with a handgun. It's not known yet if he pointed the weapon at the officers and/or fired at them, but they certainly shot in his direction. He died of multiple gunshot wounds.

In her e-mail to Westword, Standy states that "I am writing to you to clear some things up that I am sure of.

"One...the stolen Toyota RAV4...that was MY car, and I, the car owner, did not report it stolen! I am still trying to figure out why it was listed as stolen.

"Second...Ramone was not involved in any fraud! He left our house that day to get money back that was borrowed from us, and he was going to come right back so we could go to my son's basketball game."

Standy is understandably distraught by the shooting and what she sees as an inaccurate portrayal of Lonergan as a potentially lethal car thief.

"It is not okay that the people who loved him have to go through this kind of loss," she allows. "The picture that the media is painting of him is not right. The person we knew had the biggest heart and always tried to make sure people were okay. He offered people food, had people move in with us when they didn't have a place to stay, watched over the kids in our area, and anytime anyone needed anything, he was there no matter what!

"His loved ones are devastated by this loss. My son goes into our closet and hugs Ramone's clothes crying and asking him to come back to us! There is no excuse and no way to fix us having to go through life without this incredible man. We love him and miss him so much and we know he deserved better. WE LOVE YOU, RAMONE LONERGAN!"

A similar testimonial comes from Brittany Starrett, a longtime friend of Lonergan's.

"Ramone was such a blessing in our and everyone else's lives!" she maintains in an e-mail of her own. "He wasn't dealt a very fair hand in life, but nonetheless he still was such an amazing person! He protected the innocent and believed in family. He had a heart of gold! Whenever I needed a friend, he would be there for me right away and never had an excuse! He always made me feel better! He would go on long drives and talk with me, helping me see the brighter things in life. My kids knew him as Uncle Mone since birth!!! He loved my kids dearly!!! If we ever needed anything, he was there! Everyone who knew him in life knew of his amazing character! How protective and loving he was! His smile and laughter brightened a room and everyone who met him instantly loved him! His character and spirit lifted people's hearts and he was a joy to be around! He was always the best friend I have ever had the pleasure of having in my life! His death has brought such sadness and pain to so many!!! My children and my friend Shanon's kids are so heartbroken as well. These cops stole such an amazing soul from our lives. We will never again have our Ramone! But in our hearts he will forever live!!!!! Please don't let him be known as anything less than an amazing person and wonderful man!!! R.I.P. Ramone!!! We will always love and remember you!!!"

Continue to see our original item.

Original post, 10:03 a.m. January 14: A caption on the Facebook photo of 32-year-old Ramone Lonergan seen above reads, "I took this picture the day Ramone was free! Now I am posting this as a symbol of his eternal freedom. This is him in heaven with all his and our loved ones that have left! I love you so much, babe."

The tone of this remembrance stands in stark contrast with the matter-of-fact portrayal of Lonergan's death by the Denver Police Department.

Two DPD officers shot and killed Lonergan after he allegedly produced a gun during a confrontation outside the Ramada Inn located near the intersection of Speer Boulevard and Zuni Street earlier this week.

It's the latest officer-involved shooting during a period when such incidents have become all too common. As we reported, there were eleven officer-involved shootings along the Front Range between Halloween and December 17, when a suspected car thief was critically wounded.

A little less than a year ago, another alleged car thief, Jessie Hernandez, was shot and killed by police — a death that led to policy changes related to Denver cops shooting into moving vehicles. And while it's unclear if Lonergan had stolen a car found by the Ramada before he was killed, the DPD stresses that the vehicle in question wasn't in motion when bullets flew.

Whether Lonergan shot first, or fired at all, is less clear.

At 3:55 p.m. on Monday, January 11, according to the department's account, officers were patrolling the Ramada's parking lot when they spotted a stolen vehicle.

Shortly thereafter, the cops contacted motel staffers about the Toyota and learned of another alleged crime, involving apparent credit card fraud.

In the meantime, other officers arrived on the scene and spotted a man later identified as Lonergan exiting a Toyota RAV4.

At that point, the DPD maintains, Lonergan "attempted to evade officers and produced a handgun" — and ignored verbal commands to drop the gat.

A moment later, two officers pulled triggers, and their ammunition found its target.

The Denver coroner reveals that Lonergan, who was pronounced dead after his arrival at a nearby hospital, died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The department's initial release noted that it couldn't immediately be determined if Lonergan fired his weapon; neither officer was hurt.

This matter will presumably be key in the investigation into the shooting, which is being conducted in conjunction with detectives from the Aurora Police Department under a new procedure for officer-involved-shooting inquiries that take place in either community.

As of now, the cops who took Lonergan down are on administrative leave — standard protocol in such cases, of which there have been a helluva lot of late.

Look below to see a Fox31 report about the shooting.

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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