Peculiar circumstances lead to Denver area’s third fatal officer-involved shooting in 2 weeks

Peculiar circumstances lead to Denver area’s third fatal officer-involved shooting in 2 weeks

There hadn’t been a single 911 call when a Lakewood patrol officer happened upon a man firing a handgun in a normally tranquil suburban park surrounded by residential homes early Wednesday night.

“It seemed so indiscriminate and unexpected,” said Rob Albrets, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department. “We’re very relieved there were no innocent bystanders who were hurt.”

Before the incident was over, the suspect was dead. He had allegedly fired his gun at the police officers who responded to the 7:20 p.m. call by one of their own.

“We have no idea what the motive was,” Albrets said.

He said the volume of officer-involved shootings in the Denver metro area over the past year troubles him and fellow officers. “It feels like there’s a lot more than it used to be,” he said. “It’s just terrible.”

The fatal shooting in Lakewood was the third in the metro area in the past two weeks.

On the morning of Nov. 15, a contentious love-triangle involving a couple, both 43, and the wife’s alleged teen boyfriend erupted into a tit-for-tat tire-slashing and gun-menacing incident at Big O Tires, 6711 S. Potomac St. Minutes after 18-year-old Allen Fanning allegedly aimed a gun at the husband, Shawn Tyree Glover, and drove away, Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputies boxed Fanning in at the intersection of Arapahoe Road and Dayton Street. Authorities say deputies fatally shot Fanning as he reached for a gun.

Early on Tuesday morning, a trio of young suspected car thieves raced to flee Douglas County sheriff’s deputies in an apparent getaway. Authorities say one or more of the suspects shot at deputies numerous times before officers intentionally rammed the Jeep Cherokee and shot two of the suspects, killing 18-year-old Nicholas Charles Ryan. A third suspect was arrested on a warrant for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender.

But Wednesday night’s incident at Mountair Park at 13th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard so far defies explanation, Albrets said.

An unidentified Lakewood officer was patrolling near the park when he saw a man fire a handgun at least one time.

“We don’t know if he was shooting into the ground, the air or at someone in particular,” Albrets said.

The officer issued orders to the man, but he was not compliant and started walking east, Lakewood police spokesman John Romero has said. The officer followed the man to an area near 13th and Sheridan as other officers converged on the scene. At that point, the man began shooting at the officers, Romero said, and at least one officer returned fire, shooting the man dead.

Police recovered a gun at the scene, Romero said. No officers were injured, and the man was declared dead at the scene.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office will release the man’s name after investigators determine who he was.



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