On Tuesday, officers were called to 29th and Downing Streets on a party threatening people with a knife. When officers arrived, they used Crisis Intervention Communication Techniques to attempt to prevent the man from seriously injuring or killing the people he was threatening. When he did not respond, in an effort to preserve his life while saving the lives of those near him, they used “less lethal” weapons. This failed, and unfortunately an officer had to use deadly force to stop the threat and to save the lives of people in our community.
On Thursday, at one of the busiest intersections in the city, during one of the busiest times of the day, two parties began exchanging gunfire at Colfax and Broadway. For those unfamiliar with the area, there are several parks, bus stops, the State Capitol, and hundreds of cars and pedestrians. The suspects fled the scene, and not only were each of them quickly located and arrested; the officers were able to locate the guns they’d been firing.
Today, Denver Police Officers were called to the 2200 block of S. Irving Street on a shooting. As officers arrived, they learned that the suspect was outside with a rifle and incendiary devices. The man was obviously a threat to the officers and the immediate community. As officers approached, the suspect fired a round into a propane tank he’d rigged with gunpowder – clearly intended to harm first responders. One officer fired one shot and stopped the threat. After a search, officers located a dead female and another female suffering from a gunshot wound. The party from the initial call is being investigated as the suspect in those shootings. Officers also discovered other incendiary devices in the immediate area.
Police officers abhor the loss of life. It is contrary to who we are and the mission we judge ourselves by. But there are times when we must use force to prevent the loss, or further loss, of life. And preliminary indications are that these incidents fit that bill.
I want to thank the officers who responded; for making difficult decisions to protect the lives of others; for putting themselves in harm’s way to stop the deadly criminal behavior they were called to meet.
I want to thank the officers who took statements, assisted witnesses, and consoled those shaken by what had happened. I want to thank the detectives who will diligently and faithfully investigate each case, to preserve the truth for others to review and to later use in courts of law.
I want to thank officers from across the city who covered calls outside their area so that citizens could get assistance for their issues requiring police attention.
I want to thank the 911 call takers and dispatchers who calmly directed these difficult situations. For ambulance crews and firemen who joined in to preserve life and provide care. For victim’s advocates, traffic control officers, and administrative support staff.
It is not possible to name them all. But they are part of our amazing police family. And I am proud of them.
You should be too.