When Denver police officer Jeffrey DiManna aimed his gun at Sharod Kindell and pulled the trigger on January 9, it was the third time in just over six months that he was involved in a vehicle-related shooting. Since last July, Denver Police Department officers have shot at moving cars in four cases-- and the only incident in which DiManna's name does not come up is the January 26 shooting of Jessica Hernandez.
The first incident occurred on July 2. According to the Denver District Attorney's Office investigation, DiManna and his partner, Earnest Sandoval, were among the Denver gang-unit officers who surrounded Ryan Ronquillo -- described as an "active car thief who stole 'Hondas, Acuras and Subarus'" and wanted for a domestic-violence incident -- after he pulled into the parking lot of the Romero Family Funeral Home in northwest Denver driving a stolen black Honda. When Ronquillo tried to flee in the car, hitting two cops and several police vehicles, four officers, including DiManna, opened fire.
DiManna told the DA's investigator that he had been giving verbal commands to Ronquillo: "You know, 'Shut off the car! Shut off the car!' And he's still revving the engine, revving the engine. And he slams it into drive, uh, Detective Trujillo was right next to me and we were both poten-- we were both, coulda been in the line of the vehicle.... From where we were standing we were both put in, uh, the line of the vehicle. So, in fear for my safety -- in fear for Detective Trujillo's life, uh, I heard one of her roun -- I heard her fire one round and I shortly fired right after her."
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Another officer interviewed said he saw "Officer DiManna on the driver's side and it appeared to him Officer DiManna was firing his service pistol and 'kind of hopping back.'" DiManna fired two shots from his Glock 17; Ronquillo was shot four times, with three of the bullets hitting his head and neck, killing him. In August, the DA's investigation cleared DiManna and all other officers involved.
And DiManna's name also comes up in reference to one of the other high-profile incidents involving police shooting at moving vehicles over the past half-year: that of Joel and Carlos Jurado. Joel, who was driving, had eluded Denver police earlier that night, and officers finally tracked the truck down to a private truck depot in Commerce City. When DiManna and Sandoval approached the vehicle, Joel allegedly tried to drive away, hitting their empty vehicle. One officer on the scene opened fire; both brothers were hit but survived.
Joel, who reportedly still has a bullet lodged in his right lung, has been charged with first-degree assault and other crimes by the Adams County District Attorney's Office. According to DPD police spokesman Sonny Jackson, neither DiManna nor Sandoval fired his weapon. Sue Lindsay, spokeswoman for the Adams County District Attorney's Office, says she can't provide any information on the incident until the department is ready to issue its decision letter on the shooting.
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Years ago, DiManna was also on the scene at the shooting of Nicholas Alvarado Morales, a Mexican national in the U.S. illegally. On the night of December 12, 2009, Denver police officer Kevin Ford shot Morales after the suspect pulled a gun, mortally wounding him. But at least one witness claimed that the officers then kicked and beat Morales while taking him into custody. According to the DA's investigation, after Ford shot Morales and he and another officer struggled to handcuff him, "Officer Brian Mudloff and Jeff DiManna arrived at the scene in separate patrol cars. Officer Mudloff saw the officers wrestling to control Morales. Morales was on his stomach, actively resisting the officers. He saw two handguns on the ground in the area of Morales' head. Officer DiManna pushed the firearm nearest Morales away from him to the west. The officers were then able to secure Morales' arms and handcuff him. After being cuffed, Morales continued to kick his legs at the officers. Officers Mudloff and DiManna held his legs down until paramedics arrived." The DA concluded that the officers' actions were justified.
And on January 9, DiManna and his partner pulled up behind Kindell, who was in his car in a driveway, ending a phone call, and in the ensuing altercation, Kindell was shot several times, as detailed in "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," this week's cover story.
As is protocol in officer-related shootings, DiManna was placed on administrative leave following Sharod Kindell's shooting, says the DPD's Jackson, and the DA is investigating the incident.
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