Law Enforcement

Metro Denver Officer-Involved Shootings Spike Over the Weekend

A Boulder Police Department photo of a weapon seized following an October 2 officer-involved shooting.
A Boulder Police Department photo of a weapon seized following an October 2 officer-involved shooting. Boulder Police Department
The first weekend of October was marked by multiple violent crimes across metro Denver and Boulder. But three officer-involved shootings also took place October 1 and October 2, including two involving law enforcement officers with the Aurora Police Department — and one of them happened within Denver city limits, as did a similar incident just seven days earlier.

The first Twitter alert from the Denver Police Department on Saturday, October 1, was time-stamped at 1:25 a.m. It reported a stabbing on the 1300 block of Broadway; the adult-male victim suffered injuries of an "unknown" extent.

Later that morning, at 8:12 a.m., the DPD noted that personnel were assisting officers from Aurora in a pursuit at East 75th Avenue and Gun Club Road, in the Denver International Airport neighborhood. An update just over half an hour later said that the case "ended with an Aurora Police officer-involved shooting with one suspect deceased and one suspect in custody." A separate tweet from the APD's Twitter account reported that one of its officers had been injured during the event but was expected to be okay.

A press conference about the incident was delivered by 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. (He'd also handled the press conference on September 24 after an Aurora officer-involved shooting in the area of East Alameda and South Galena Way left one dead.)

According to Thomas, whose agency will also handle the inquiry into the latest shooting along with the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, two men in a black SUV were suspected of having robbed a 7-Eleven near Sable Boulevard and Colfax in Aurora, and when the cops tried to make contact with them, they fled into Denver. The SUV crashed near 75th and Gun Club, at which point the driver allegedly emerged with a long gun with which he threatened officers, prompting them to open fire. The driver was fatally wounded, while the other man was taken into custody after trying to run away.

Here's a video of the Thomas media availability:
The DPD was busy on Sunday, October 2, as well. At 4:06 a.m., investigators were on the scene of a stabbing on the 1400 block of Uinta Street, in the East Colfax neighborhood; an adult male suffered wounds characterized as non-life-threatening. And at 11:29 p.m., another stabbing occurred near the intersection of South Federal Boulevard and West Evans Avenue, along the eastern border of the Harvey Park neighborhood. This time, neither the victim's gender nor their injuries were specified.

That same day, the second shooting involving Aurora officers took place — and this time, the location was actually in their jurisdiction. A news release states that at around 6 p.m., an Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office deputy was called to a group home near Moline Street and East Colfax Avenue in regard to an individual in a work-release program "causing a disturbance and committing rule violations." The man was tracked to a nearby bus stop, where he was said to have threatened several people with a large knife. He subsequently traveled to a store on the 11000 block of East Colfax, to which Aurora officers were dispatched after receiving 911 calls about a robbery. By the time they arrived, the suspect had boarded the number 15 bus, on the line profiled in an incendiary Washington Post article this summer. Officers were able to climb into the vehicle, too, prompting a confrontation that initially involved a taser and a K-9. When these methods proved "ineffective," the account goes on, they discharged their handgun, fatally wounding the man.

Continue to see the Aurora Police Department press conference about the bus shooting:
The Boulder Police Department had its own officer-involved shooting on October 2. At 1:27 a.m., a BPD press release states that law enforcement officials were called to the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue regarding "a disturbance with guns nearby." They soon came upon "armed individuals who were actively shooting," prompting an officer to discharge his own firearm. One adult male was shot in the arm, while others ran from the scene. At this writing, no other arrests have been reported, but the weapon seen in a photo at the top of this post was recovered.

Click to view the Boulder Police Department press conference about the shooting:
One more thing: The Boulder Police don't believe this matter was related to another felony-menacing-with-a-gun incident that took place at 2:02 a.m. on October 2. Two individuals were taken into custody for that episode along the 1100 block of University Avenue.

Those with information about any of these acts can contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
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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

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