Denver district attorney says August 2019 police shooting that killed Juan Carlos Macias was an act of self-defense

Denver police officer Thomas Schmidt shot Juan Carlos Macias, who allegedly shot at an officer.

A Denver police cruiser parked behind police tape near the scene of a fatal police shooting on Monday, Oct. 21, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

A Denver police cruiser parked behind police tape near the scene of a fatal police shooting on Monday, Oct. 21, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

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District Attorney Beth McCann released a decision letter Wednesday concluding that an officer-involved shooting death in August was legally justified.

The officer, Thomas Schmidt, will not face criminal charges for shooting and killing Juan Carlos Macias, 37, who fired on police while they questioned him around 10 p.m, on August 31, the letter states.

At the time of the shooting, Schmidt and another uniformed officer, Ramses Aranda, were in a patrol car responding to calls about a man harassing women near the 1500 block of Central Street in Highland. The officers interviewed two women who said a man had followed and harassed them. One woman reported that the man fired a gun into the air after she refused to go home with him.

The officers found a man matching the description near a restaurant in the area, according to McCann’s decision letter. The man identified himself as Juan Carlos Macias and provided identification. Aranda and Macias continued to talk as Schmidt stepped away to radio in Macias’s information.

Aranda reported that during their conversation Macias suddenly pulled a revolver out of his waistband and fired at him. He avoided the shot by running into the street and ducking. Aranda yelled “gun” and Schmidt drew his firearm, shooting several rounds towards Macias. Macias was transported to the hospital and died three days later. Police searched Macias’s backpack and found bullets, containers of what appeared to be methamphetamine and a ski mask.

In her letter, McCann said Schmidt was justified in shooting the suspect for self-defense and protection of a third party.

In the first week of 2020, Denver police officers have killed two people. In 2019 there were six officer-involved shootings in Denver.

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