Photos: Joe Gorden ID'd as suicidal man CU-Denver cop shot on Anschutz Medical Campus

Update: The man killed last night at the Anschutz Medical Campus (see our previous coverage below) has not been officially ID'd yet. However, his brother tells us his name was Joe Gorden, and he worked at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Tom Gorden says he and his siblings believe reports that Joe, in the midst of a divorce and struggling with alcohol, was suicidal. As such, Tom says they wouldn't blame the officer for firing the fatal shot if Joe had a gun and brandished it threateningly -- something that hasn't been confirmed yet.

According to Tom, Joe, 49, was born in New York before moving with his family to Albuquerque, New Mexico (where Tom continues to live) in the early 1970s. He says Joe relocated to the Denver area about ten years or so ago.

"He was a family guy," Tom points out. "He'd been married a few times; he fell in love really easily. But he was very much into his job and doing things with his kids. He loved his kids" -- two adult children from one relationship, plus a pair of teenagers currently living in Colorado.

Joe worked as an X-ray technician at a CU facility -- perhaps the one to which he was taken after being shot by an officer who responded to a report of a suicidal man in an Anschutz Medical Campus parking garage around 7 p.m. yesterday, although Tom's not positive about that. But not long ago, Joe's life took a turn for the worse.

"He was going through a pretty bad divorce," Tom says. "It kind of caught him off-guard. She happened to tell him she wanted a divorce on their anniversary."

At that point, drinking became an issue, and it may have carried over to his employment. Tom believes Joe was recently fired, perhaps within the past day or so. There were also some Facebook posts that concerned his siblings; Joe was one of five.

The rest is speculation, and at this writing, Tom is still trying to find out if Joe was armed. "If my brother didn't have a gun -- if he held up a cell phone and was shot -- I'll have a problem with that," he acknowledges. "But if he had a gun, my family will hold no bad feelings toward the officer that shot him. My dad was a retired New York City cop, and in that kind of a situation, he would have done the same thing."

In the meantime, Tom would like Joe to be remembered for the way he lived his life, not for the manner in which it ended. "He was a fun-loving guy," he recalls. "He was the entertainment at any party -- not in a drinking way, but in a storytelling way. He told great stories."

Continue for our previous coverage of the officer-involved shooting last night at the Anschutz Medical Campus.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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

Latest Stories