4
| News |

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

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

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. Original post, 5:38 a.m.: The Anschutz Medical Campus is justly renowned for the quality of its services -- but there are times when there's nothing even the most highly gifted medical professionals can do to save a life no matter how quickly treatment begins.

Example: A suicidal man shot by CU-Denver police last night died even though his wound was inflicted approximately 100 yards from the on-campus hospital.

We've got the latest on the story below.

At about 7 p.m. last night, according to the Aurora Police Department, which is investigating and coordinating information on the incident, CU-Denver police officers were dispatched to a parking garage on the campus following a report of a suicidal male.

Once the cops arrived, the man immediately hopped into his car and drove off. Here's a look at the vehicle courtesy of 7News photojournalist James Dougherty, whose tweets provide the best look we've gotten of the scene thus far.

The CU-Denver officers pursued the man and stopped him at the intersection of East 16th Avenue and North Quentin Street.

Seconds later, shots were fired, and the man was struck.

The University of Colorado Hospital was just 100 yards away from the intersection, as estimated by 7News. However, the thus-far-unidentified man was subsequently pronounced dead.

Emergency personnel arrived at the scene in force, as witnessed by this Dougherty tweet....

...and this one:

Meanwhile, the folks at CU-Denver rushed to assure students and others. A statement from the university reads in part: "Please be assured that the campus -- including the hospitals on it -- is safe."

The officer who pulled the trigger is being placed on paid administrative leave pending the already ongoing investigation -- standard procedure in cases like these. Among the questions that will no doubt be asked: Given the man's reported state of mind, did he commit suicide by cop?

Anyone with information about what happened is encouraged to phone Agent Mike Prince at 303-739-6127 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP. In the meantime, our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the man who lost his life in the incident.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archives circa January 22: "No charges against Boulder County deputy in apparent suicide by cop."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.