Two Women Shot by Police in Santa Fe Carjacking: One Dead, One Critical

Commander Barb Archer of the Denver Police Department's Major Crimes Unit at today's press conference.
Commander Barb Archer of the Denver Police Department's Major Crimes Unit at today's press conference. Photo by Michael Roberts
At a press conference that ended moments ago, a Denver Police Department commander confirmed that the two people shot by Englewood or Littleton officers on Santa Fe Drive after a suspected carjacking and chase early this morning were both women. One is dead, while the other is in critical condition at this writing. In addition, a spokesperson said it's unknown at this point if the suspects shot at police before cops on the scene opened fire or if a weapon was found in or near the stolen vehicle.

Archer confirmed some details of initial accounts about what happened, as shared with us earlier today by a DPD spokesperson — but other elements have shifted.

She noted that the carjacking took place just before midnight in Littleton, and the victim told investigators that four people were involved: two women and two men.

A short time later, officers with the Littleton Police Department spotted the vehicle near Arapahoe Community College — but only the women were inside it. Archer said she didn't know what happened to the men in between the carjacking and the first sighting by law enforcement.

click to enlarge Police vehicles at the scene of the shooting. - DENVER7 VIA @WXTRACKERDARYL
Police vehicles at the scene of the shooting.
Denver7 via @WxTrackerDaryl
The LPD officers tried to execute a vehicle stop using only lights and sirens, Archer went on. But the car took off, heading north on Santa Fe. The Littleton cops followed, and officers from the Englewood Police Department joined in when the chase crossed into their jurisdiction. Meanwhile, she noted that Denver Police Department dispatch was monitoring the situation, but DPD personnel didn't arrive at the scene until the main action was over.

According to Archer, multiple PIT [Pursuit Intervention Technique] maneuvers were tried in an attempt to bring the suspect vehicle to a halt, and one was finally successful near the intersection of Louisiana and Bannock. Shortly thereafter, gunfire erupted, killing one of the women and critically injuring the other.

No police officers were shot, and Archer didn't have information about whether any of their vehicles sustained damage. Neither could she say if officers from both the Littleton and Englewood departments fired shots or hit their targets.

Earlier accounts had suggested that there had been an exchange of bullets, with the suspects possibly shooting first. Archer stressed that she couldn't confirm whether this happened or not. Likewise, she didn't know if the women had been armed or had a weapon in close proximity when they were felled.

Santa Fe Drive reopened shortly before the 11:15 a.m. news conference began, and traffic in the area is finally getting back to normal. But investigators with the Denver Police Department, who are conducting the shooting investigation, have a lot of questions yet to answer in an incident that has already resulted in one death, with the life of another suspect hanging in the balance.
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