Crime

Dion Damon, Bank Robbery Suspect, Unarmed When Killed by Denver Cop

Last night, a vigil was held for Dion Damon, who was killed by a Denver police officer on Tuesday, April 12.

A Denver Police Department spokesman now acknowledges that Damon wasn't armed at the time he was shot to death by Officer Jeff Motz, a 22-year law-enforcement veteran.

But the DPD maintains that Damon, a suspect in a March 17 armed robbery at the Bank of Denver branch near Holly and Leetsdale, made a "threatening-type maneuver" that prompted Motz to fire seven shots into Damon's body.

Damon died as his son and wife, Dawn Aguirre, watched — and Aguirre disputes the police account of what went down.


This mug shot of Damon....

...offers pictorial evidence of his criminal past.

But while the DPD says Damon's record is lengthy, most of the previous offenses were reportedly of the minor variety, including shoplifting and an extortion beef dating back to 1998.

The Bank of Denver job was certainly more violent. The DPD describes it as a "take-over-style" heist during which the robber menaced customers with a handgun.

On April 11, as 7News notes, a warrant was issued for Damon in regard to that crime, and the following day, he was spotted in a parked car on the 1300 block of Bannock, near the Denver Art Museum.

Dawn tells the station that Damon had accompanied her downtown so she could pay a parking ticket, and their son was with them.

The boy and Damon initially planned to stay in the car, but the child subsequently disembarked to join his mom.

She was returning to the car to get a forgotten cell phone when the cops moved in to serve the warrant — and after Damon didn't obey orders to get out of the car with his hands up, the fatal shots were fired.

At a news conference, DPD spokesman Commander Ron Saunier admits that the tinted windows on Damon's vehicle made visibility difficult — and Dawn maintains that she didn't see the aforementioned "threatening maneuver."

Yet Saunier says the move suggested to Motz that Damon had a weapon, and he responded by unloading his.

Immediately after the shooting, friends and relatives of Damon took to social media to denounce what happened.

Here's a post shared by Denise Aguirre.
Dion was a Great Father, Husband, Son, and Brother, and no matter his race or history, he didn't deserve to be murdered!!! The police are trying to JUSTIFY his murder by saying we gave him directions to get out of the car for at least a minute, Wow that minute is barely enough time to get your head around the fact that you're surrounded by guns, you're not sure why, and your wife and son are within arms reach!!! The Officer was wrong to shoot, and his family deserves an apology at least.

Don't let Dion be forgotten.
Sentiments like these dominated last night's vigil, which is captured in the video below.

The shooting is under investigation by multiple agencies, including police in Denver and Aurora, plus the Denver District Attorney's Office and the Office of the Independent Monitor.

Here's a 7News report.



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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