RTD guard shot and killed near Denver’s Union Station; Joshua Cummings arrested as suspect

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A flag flies at half staff in memoriam for RTD security guard Scott Von Lanken in front of Union Station, Feb. 1, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) union station; scott von lankin; memorial; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;

A flag flies at half staff in front of Union Station for an RTD security guard killed this morning. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A man approached a security guard from behind and killed him with a gunshot to the neck or head near Union Station at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Denver police.

The victim was an armed and uniformed private security guard working for RTD, according to police. The shooting happened in Wynkoop Plaza, according to RTD. The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner identified the victim as Scott Von Lanken, 56, of Loveland.

Police have arrested Joshua Andrew Cummings, 37, in the case, according to DPD. Cummings is being held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder, according to a court filing.

Cummings was arrested about 20 minutes after the shooting, according to police.

Police said he had a gun on him and was hiding when police found him, but the arrest was "very straightforward," according to Commander Barb Archer. There are no other suspects at this time.

Ryan Neville places flowers at a memorial at Wynkoop and 16th Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Two women were asking the security guard for information about light-rail services at the time of the shooting, Archer said.

The police account of the shooting was based on interviews with those two witnesses, according to Archer.

The witnesses heard the suspect say something like, "Do what you are told" immediately before firing his gun, according to a court filing.

Two police officers arrived on the scene soon afterward. Reviewing video surveillance footage, they spotted a man fleeing with a gun in his hand, the filing states.

Cummings was arrested about 20 minutes after the shooting on a patio of the Volkner Lofts at 1628 14th Street, apparently having crossed Cherry Creek. The suspect's weapon had a live round in the chamber and seven more rounds in its magazine, according to police.

"We're not 100 percent sure what motivated this particular individual to shoot the victim," said Chief Robert White.

However, Denver Police Department issued a warning to law enforcement officers in case it was an anti-police crime, White said.

Police said the suspect lives in the Denver area and is not homeless. The motive for the shooting is not clear.

RTD said the man was an employee of Allied Universal, which provides security for RTD under a contract. RTD is cooperating with Denver police in the investigation.

"Our entire team is deeply saddened by this loss," RTD Assistant General Manager of Safety and Security Mike Meader said in a statement. "RTD and Allied Universal have been in contact with the officer’s family and will continue to offer our support during this sad time."

RTD Transit Police and Allied Universal, Officer Von Lanken’s employer, have set up a memorial fund to help support his wife and two children through the Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Credit Union under Scott Von Lanken’s name. You can make donations online or call 303-458-6660.

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