Donna Martinez dies in police shooting, likely charges for passenger Bernard Trujillo

Donna Lynn Martinez had posed for a police photographer before being shot to death by a Lakewood Police officer, as her mug shot indicates. But her companion, Bernard John Trujillo, sported by far the more impressive record -- one that's likely to get longer this week when charges against him are formalized in regard to a traffic stop that turned tragic.

According to the Lakewood Police Department, an officer pulled over a 2007 Suzuki shortly after midnight on September 6 near the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Pierce Street. He then ran the license plate of the vehicle, driven by Martinez with Trujillo beside her, and it registered as stolen. Cops now believe the Suzuki had been swiped from a Denver location a few days earlier.

After a second cop responded to the scene, Trujillo is said to have gotten combative. That officer responded by tasing him, after which Martinez allegedly tried to drive away, even though the first officer's arm was pinned inside the vehicle. Cop Number One then opened fire, striking her. She subsequently died of her wounds at a nearby hospital.

The thus-far-unidentified officer who shot and killed Martinez will face an investigation by what Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis refers to as "the Jefferson County shoot team." The group "consists of investigators and detectives from all the law enforcement agencies in Jefferson County," he goes on, "including the district attorney's office. It lends an outside perspective, so you don't end up with the same agency investigating its own shooting. We do have a couple of detectives who are part of the team, but the investigation itself isn't done by Lakewood."

The inquiry "takes as much time as they need," Davis points out. "It's usually a week or two before they turn over their final report to the DA's office, but it doesn't contain any charges toward an officer or anything else. That report is then staffed by members of the DA's office, and it's solely their responsibility to determine whether the shooting was justified or not."

At times, Davis has seen the district attorney turn around a report "very quickly -- and even then, it's usually several weeks. But if there's something in doubt or they feel things need more investigation, it could be months -- although, hopefully, this one won't be a real drawn-out process."

Charges against Trujillo are likely to come down well before then. "He was a parolee," Davis says, "and that's what we booked him on -- a parole violation. But there will likely be many charges filed on him as the investigation progresses. It will take the district attorney's office looking at those charges separately from the investigation and decide what they think is appropriate. But I'm going to guess there'll be five or six charges against him."

He's already racked up quite a collection. The Denver Post notes that Trujillo's twenty-year arrest history in the state, either under his own name or an alias, ranges from auto theft and possession of an explosive device to defrauding a pawnbroker of a deadly weapon.

Here's a look at Trujillo's mug shot, followed by a larger version of the earlier one featuring Martinez.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Jeremiah Barnum, convicted hate criminal, dead in officer-involved Walgreens 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