Law Enforcement

Colorado Officer-Involved Shootings Spike: Four in Three Days

The aftermath of an April officer-involved shooting in Colorado Springs.
The aftermath of an April officer-involved shooting in Colorado Springs. Denver7
The number of officer-involved shootings in Colorado is spiking. Four such incidents took place in the first three days of September, all of them resulting in fatalities, and twenty have happened since early June — a rate of well over one per week. At the current pace, the number of officer-involved shootings in 2021 will soon surpass the 2020 total.

In 2020, there were 28 police shootings in Colorado before the murder of Minneapolis's George Floyd on May 25, spawning social justice protests in Denver and around the country, and another 23 in the nearly seven months that followed. That resulted in 51 for the year — far fewer than the 68 in 2019.

Just over three months ago, we looked at officer-involved shootings up to that point in 2021 — 29 through June 4, according to the map maintained by Denver7. There were eleven officer-involved shootings in April alone in Colorado, and eight more between May 1 and June 4, including five officer-involved shootings in the metro area: three in Denver, and one each in Arvada and Englewood that resulted in a fatality.

Through the rest of June, there were eight officer-involved shootings, then six more in July, four in August and the four so far in September. In fact, the officer-involved shootings have happened so quickly that Denver7 is having trouble keeping up. The current map omits a September 1 incident in unincorporated El Paso County during which a deputy shot and killed Connor Riley McDaniel, 26. The station has also not yet updated the August 16 shooting of nineteen-year-old Alex Domina amid a mental health crisis; on September 8, his family revealed that he lost his long battle for life.


Of the twenty officer-involved shootings since June 4, eleven ended with a fatality.

With 49 officer-involved shootings so far, 2021's total is now within two of 2020's count and will exceed the 68 in 2019 unless the pace slows considerably through the end of the year.

Here's the current list of officer-involved shootings in Colorado in 2021 by date, with notations about whether the incidents resulted in an injury or a fatality.

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)
June 10, 2021 — Grand Junction (injury)
June 14, 2021 — Denver (fatality)
June 14, 2021 — Greeley (injury)
June 21, 2021 — Arvada (fatality)
June 25, 2021 — Grand Junction (fatality)
June 28, 2021 — Commerce City (fatality)
July 6, 2021 — Aurora (injury)
July 12, 2021 — Aurora (unknown)
July 13, 2021 — Aurora (injury)
July 20, 2021 — Aurora (injury)
July 28, 2021 — Berthoud (injury)
July 31, 2021 — Centennial (fatality)
August 11, 2021 — Adams County (injury)
August 16, 2021 — Loveland (fatality)
August 17, 2021 — Arvada (fatality)
August 18, 2021 — Thornton (fatality)
September 1, 2021 — El Paso County (fatality)
September 2, 2021 — Jefferson County (fatality)
September 3, 2021 — Arapahoe County (fatality)
September 3, 2021 — Denver (fatality)
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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