Police: Denver-area officer mistakenly shot, killed by fellow officer
Lakewood, Colorado, police Officer James Davies, 35, was fatally shot by a fellow Lakewood officer Friday morning.
November 9th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Police: Denver-area officer mistakenly shot, killed by fellow officer

A Denver-area police officer was fatally shot by a colleague who mistook him for an armed assailant early Friday, authorities said.

James Davies, a 35-year-old police officer in Lakewood, Colorado, was shot outside a house that he and fellow Lakewood officers including the firing officer were checking after hearing shots fired there, police spokesman Steve Davis said.

The firing officer, whom police haven’t identified, thought Davies was an armed threat in the dark of night, the spokesman said.

“This has affected our entire department very, very deeply,” Davis told reporters Friday afternoon. “I don’t think it could have a more tragic set of circumstances.”

The incident started when an officer, searching for the source of gunfire that had been heard in the area, saw someone firing a gun on the porch of the home in Lakewood, Davis said.

A number of officers, including Davies, arrived at the home and took three people into custody in connection with the gunfire. Preparing to enter the home a second time to search it for anyone else, officers surrounded the building, with Davies standing in the backyard, Davis said.

In a neighboring yard, on the other side of a fence, an officer saw Davies with a gun and didn’t know he was a police officer, the spokesman said.

“It’s my understanding that the firing officer could see either a silhouette or enough lighting to see someone with a gun, and mistook him for an armed suspect,” Davis said. “Apparently there were some commands given, but quite frankly everyone seems to think Officer Davies thought that the other officer was in contact with someone else, and was giving commands to that person.”

Davies, in full police uniform, would have had little reason to believe that the shouting officer was commanding him, Davis said.

The second officer shot Davies, who died at the scene, the spokesman said.

Davies, who had been with the department for more than six years, had a wife and two children. The department’s chief spent part of Friday consoling Davies’ family.

“You can imagine the anguish that the other officer is going through right now,” Davis said. “We feel like we have two victims in the department, to be quite frank. That officer is really having a difficult time with what happened last night.”

The incident will be investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies in Jefferson County, and a district attorney would decide whether to charge the firing officer after getting the investigators’ report, Davis said.

Police didn’t say what prompted the gunfire that attracted the officers to the home. The three people who had been detained hadn’t been arrested as of Friday afternoon, Davis said. He said he didn’t know whether they would be charged.

soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. Pnm9pnm

    Lates news throw time cop sends cop on persute in to the so called after life as couts re ready 4 this one.pnm,.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. American Police = Mafia

    American Police are essentially a 'mafia' who protect themselves, and are open to bribing via their PBA (Police Bribing Agency?). If you want to rob a bank, shoot a cop first on the other side of town. They will be soooo busy looking for their brother's killer that they will forget they are paid public servants. You can walk into a bank and rob them now. The root of the problem is that social divisions in America mean Cops play the role of enforcers of this division... and they help themselves in the process.

    Sorry to say it, but Cops in America are essentially a self-serving Mafia. If they shoot each other, -I couldn't care less.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • areyouforreal

      The Mafia? When things get very bad for you, and your are frozen stiff with fear, please call the Fire Dept. instead. If you are in a movie theatre or your kids are in school and someone with an AK starts shooting, please call somebody to help you, but what ever you do, don't call the police. They are probably too busy running their mafia.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 5-0

    If you're ordering someone to drop their weapon, and they turn towards you, it's shoot or be shot. You have less than a second to make that decision. If Officer Davies heard the other officer ordering someone to drop their weapon, but didn't realize it was him that was being told that, he would have certainly turned towards, and probably moved towards the other officer in order to give back up. A shadoy figure coming at you with a gun IS a threat and, unfortunately, in that split second, the first officer had to decide whether to defend himself or have his LT. contact his widow. It sounds like a tragic accident for which, I'm sure, he'll never forgive himself.

    Those who are condemning him have never strapped on a gun and walked that thin, blue line to protect others. They just like to Monday-morning quarterback from the safety of their computer keybaord.

    My condolences to Officer Davies' family, as well as the shooting officer, along with all my brothers and sisters in blue at the Lakewood P.D.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      "We walk in danger, a thin blue line, for YOU!", sniff, sniff. No you don't. I don't want you out there with the rest of the revenue generators and prohibition enforcers enslaving my neighbors and countrymen. The fact is, you all are too violent, and you seem to think that no matter what happens, only another officer is capable of juding you. Wrong. Cops do not exist on this planet by themselves, and unlike most cops, we actually went to college and have critical thinking skills. Most of us also shoot firearms, confront people stealing cars, breaking into our homes, etc., but we don't turn every encounter into a full blown riot or shootout. All of you cops need to take some extensive training in civil liberties, use of deadly force, and take a valium for your delicate sensiblities. Somehow shooting a cop, in full uniform, is justified because the job is stressful? Get over yourself, and tell your buddies as well. He screwed up and killed a person because he didn't follow ANY of the rules about deadly force or using a firearm. Identify your target, be aware of your backstop, and NEVER POINT YOUR GUN AT ANYTHING YOU DO NOT INTEND TO DESTROY. FAIL!

      November 11, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. s

    was the police with you?

    November 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mantan073

    This is what happens when police are trained to shoot at anything that moves and ask questions later.

    Gun manufacturers and NRA say again and again... Identify your target before shooting.

    Military way... Take cover until you positively identified your target.

    These are just simple and common sense ways to avoid friendly fire.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • areyouforreal

      if you are taking cover, you are probably already getting shot at.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. walt

    Ex- military personnel are encouraged to join the police force. Soldier mentality is shoot first. Alot of innocent lives are going to be at stake in the future.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. walt

    A police officer will never surrender his weapon.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobaloo

      Apparently, Officer Davies surrendered his weapon when the coroner picked him up.

      November 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. works4me

    sad story... RIP

    November 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tom LI

    No one is every going to want to ride with the shooting officer.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Will Jamison

    This still doesn't explain why officer Davies was shot. Surely he didn't point his gun at the officer who was shouting commands. If he couldn't even see Davies uniform he had no business shooting at some dark shape in the night. This sounds like another case of too many cops with too many guns too eager to shoot at anything. Far too often things get much worse when the cops show up to a scene rather than get better. This could just as easily been the owner of that house back there trying to hide and protect himself who was shot. In that case it would have just been chalked up to "collateral damage" and the cop who shot him given two weeks paid leave, a pat on the back, and a plaque for heroism. If you don't know what you are shooting at, don't freakin' shoot.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bobaloo

    I don't have any sympathy for either of them. This time they killed one of their own instead of an innocent citizen. Boo-fricken-hoo...karma sucks.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • matreyia

      Not all policemen are corrupt.
      Not all poor people are criminals.
      Not all rich people are greedy.
      Not all intelligent people are wise.

      November 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • troll lolol

      nice one!

      November 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. E. Benedict

    If these cops will start wearing flourescent vests as ALL cops in the UK do, this would not have happened. Wearing those vests will also give more visibility at road side and prevent more tragedies. But these idiot smokies and cops like to wear dark clothing. Stupid hurts, very stupid kills.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Hoffman

      Hey dummy, they wear dark colors because we have guns here and people shot at them. Wouldn't it be easier for the shooter to aim at a bright color in the dark of night.

      November 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fal

      John Hoffman.. you re the dummy! Unless you are in plain clothes duty, a uniform officer should have a HI ViS Vest on to prevent this very things.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul321

      Yup ... a couple of years ago i nearly backed up over an officer standing at the bottom of my drive at night. Nighttime. datk clothing, flashing lights – a disaster waiting to happen.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. coaster

    Well at least it wasn't an innocent unarmed civilian as is often the case.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. melissa

    so dumb and stupid

    November 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fiona

    Shouldn't he have said "Police Officer", or something like that, when the other cop started barking commands? And shouldn't the cop-killing cop have waited to shoot at what he says he believed was an armed assailant? Because unless the deceased was pointing his gun at the cop killer, said cop killer was not in imminent danger and could have shown some restraint.

    All told, I would not trust that police force.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul321

      It is being assumed the victim heard the commands but assumed they were being shouted at someone else.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
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