Police, witnesses and a man who said he was involved in a fatal police shooting Thursday night offered different versions of what took place when an officer stopped a car for speeding at East Fifth Avenue and Lafayette Street.
Denver police released a brief statement Friday reporting that an officer attempted to stop a speeding car about 10:25 p.m., without saying where. The driver refused to stop, then lost control of his vehicle, according to the release. It came to rest facing north on Lafayette, just a few feet south of East Fifth Avenue in Denver's Country Club neighborhood. The officer, headed east on Fifth Avenue, stopped his cruiser about 15 feet from the car, with his front bumper at right angles to the suspect's front bumper, police said.
Police said the officer got out of his cruiser and approached the vehicle on foot. The suspect raced his engine, causing the officer to think he was about to be run over, so he fired "several rounds" into the vehicle's windshield. The suspect was transported to Denver Health Medical Center, where he later died.
A police press release said the suspect had a lengthy arrest record and was wanted for a parole violation and escape. Neither the coroner's office nor police released the suspect's name.
A witness who didn't want to be identified said he saw a car weaving slowly eastbound on Fifth Avenue, followed by a police car that wasn't using its siren or flashing lights. The witness ran from his kitchen out the front door, temporarily losing sight of the two cars. From his porch, he saw the suspect's car when it stopped, facing north on Lafayette, and the cruiser stopped on Fifth Avenue, perpendicular to the suspect's car. He heard multiple gunshots, then saw the officer standing "weapon drawn and pointed at the windshield of the stopped car," he stated in an e-mail to family members.
"The cop was standing in front of his left front bumper, facing the other car," the witness stated. "There were seven holes
"The cop must have been 4 to 6 feet in front of the car when he fired. Very close range."