Medical examiner identifies Antonio Blackbear as man fatally shot by Denver police in Lincoln Park

Police said Blackbear was armed when officers shot him. He died the next day.

Denver Police cars on the 16th Street Mall. April 24, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Police cars on the 16th Street Mall. April 24, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kevin J. Beaty
(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Denver’s Office of the Medical Examiner on Friday identified Antonio Blackbear as the man fatally shot by Denver police in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood on Wednesday.

The medical examiner’s office said Blackbear’s cause of death was from a gunshot wound and the manner of death was listed as a homicide. He died at Denver Health on Thursday, hours after he was shot by Denver police.

Police said during a briefing on Wednesday that Blackbear, 41, had been armed with a handgun. He had not yet been identified by name at that point.

Division Chief Ron Thomas said on Wednesday that shortly before 5 p.m., police got calls about a man who was threatening people with a weapon near 11th Avenue and Osage Street.

Thomas said officers got to the scene “pretty quickly” and found the man later identified as Blackbear with a gun in his hand near 10th Avenue and Osage Street, allegedly threatening people in their cars. Thomas said officers got out of their cars and “challenged” Blackbear, whom Thomas said then started moving toward the officers in a “threatening manner.”

Officers told Blackbear to stop and drop his weapon. Police said he did not, and two officers fired their weapons on him. Thomas did not make clear what prompted the officers to begin shooting, only that Blackbear had been moving toward the officers. Thomas said Blackbear did not shoot his gun. Police said the shooting happened near 10th Avenue and Inca Street, which is a few blocks from West High School.

Thomas added that police spoke to victims who were threatened by Blackbear.

Blackbear was transported to Denver Health after Wednesday’s shooting. He died on Thursday morning. His friends gathered for a vigil on Thursday night and disputed the police account of what happened.

The shooting marks the seventh time this year Denver police officers have been involved in a fatal shooting. The Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against officers in two of those shootings, saying they were legally justified.

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