Denver police are investigating an incident in which an officer shot and killed a man near Eighth Avenue and Zuni Street after the man took an officer’s patrol car, the department said Monday afternoon.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said at a press conference the incident began near Sixth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive when police responded to a report of an attempted carjacking. After police arrived at the scene, they identified a suspect and chased him on foot. Pazen said the suspect circled back, got into the officer’s car and drove off, ending up near Eighth Avenue and Zuni Street in Lincoln Park.
Pazen said the man took a police rifle from the patrol car, prompting the officer to shoot him. Pazen did not say whether the man shot at the officer or pointed the gun at the officer. He did say police received reports the man pointed the gun at people near Sixth and Federal Boulevard.
Pazen declined to detail the protocol for officers leaving a car unattended. He said the department will investigate whether any policies were violated. Pazen did not say how many shots were fired by the officer.
The department initially said on Twitter at the suspect was transported to a hospital with a gunshot wound. Pazen later said the man had died at the scene.
No officers were injured in the shooting, according to police. The incident is now being jointly investigated by Denver Police and Aurora Police, per state protocol. The Office of the Independent Monitor and the Denver District Attorney’s Office are also involved.
The incident has closed Eighth Avenue between Zuni Street and Wyandot Street. The department said to expect a heavy police presence and asked drivers to avoid the area.
Police are seeking additional witnesses and are asking anyone with information to contact them at 720-913-7867.