Dwayne Kelly killing ruled a Make My Day case, no charges filed

Update: Last month, we told you about a fatal shooting that killed Dwayne Kelly, 52, on the 1600 block of Yates; see our previous coverage below. At the time, the Denver police intimated that the incident may have been a Make My Day case, in which a homeowner fired in defense of his property, and that's proven to be the case. The Denver DA's office has decided not to prosecute the homeowner, a legal gun owner who says he found Kelly stealing stuff from his place, then shot when the intruder tried to take his weapon. See our previous coverage below.

Previous coverage 10:28 a.m. March 20: Yesterday, we told you about a shooting on the 1600 block of Yates in which a suspect was quizzed, then released; see our previous coverage below.

Since then, the Denver coroner's office has identified the man killed in the incident as Dwayne Kelly, 52. The cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds. However, no charges have been filed thus far in Kelly's death, which the man on the other side of the gun is apparently portraying as an act of self-defense. Here's the latest, from a Denver police spokesman.

As we reported, police responded to Yates Street, in the Sloan's Lake area, at around 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday following a report of shots fired. There, they found Kelly, who was declared dead at the scene. A suspect was immediately identified, only to be released "pending further review of the facts," with the Denver District Attorney's Office tasked with determining if charges will be filed.

Can the incident be characterized as "Make My Day" shooting? Is a homeowner claiming his actions were justified because his home had been invaded? After all, Kelly reportedly has a hefty rap sheet that includes burglary beefs.

In response to that question, the Denver Police Department's Sonny Jackson reveals that "we're looking at all of that. A lot of things are being said -- but I don't want to put our detectives in a corner. We're going to take what we have, what's being said and investigate it to find out what the facts tell us.

"The details are up in the air as to what motivated this," Jackson acknowledges. "We know we have a homicide, but we don't know if we have a murder. We had a suspect in custody, but based on what he was telling us, we had to decide whether we should continue holding him or let him go until we know more. So we released him. But we're continuing to investigate, and we'll present our findings to the DA and ask, 'Is this enough to say there was a murder? Or isn't it?' And then they'll decide. That's the DA's job."

Continue for our previous coverage.

Original post, 8:50 a.m. March 19: Did a murder take place yesterday on the 1600 block of Yates Street, in the Sloan's Lake area? Was it a justifiable homicide? Or some combination thereof?

At this writing, even members of the Denver Police Department seem unclear about how to describe what happened. But we know one thing for certain: After a shooting, a man is dead.

Continue for photos and details of the information released to date.

Just shy of 11 a.m. yesterday, the Denver Police Department issued the following tweet:

More information did indeed follow. The DPD noted that officers responded to the scene after receiving a report of a shooting at around 10:40 a.m. Upon their arrival, they found what is described as a "deceased adult male on the property."

Cops subsequently announced that they weren't looking for any suspects. But while such a statement usually means they're confident they know who did it and have that individual in custody, the situation quickly became more complicated, as witnessed by this pair of tweets sent out early yesterday evening:

Since then, details have been scarce, leaving open questions about whether the shooting qualifies as murder or manslaughter -- or if the motives and actions are more ambiguous.

Look below to see an interactive graphic of the area near the crime scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

View Larger Map

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Mile High Murder archive circa March 18: "Thomas Laperch arrest: Murdered musician William Burchett robbed, stabbed, burned (44)."

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >