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. thinger

    How about all police handguns have lights mounted to them. Crisis averted.

    November 10, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. CommonSense

    lost situational awareness. that's hell.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rare_earth

    A little bit of karma.
    Goodnight.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. el-mundo

    Maybe this is a good lesson for other cops:
    try to value the life of others as much as yours,
    you do not always have to shoot to kill,
    do not shoot until you can clearly identify the target as a real threat to a life(a person with a weapon and not responding to your command is not always a real threat to your life)

    November 10, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. government cheese

    68 blacks were killed in Chicago over the weekend.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Whaaat?

    Hopefully their chief will find the shooting was justified.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ONyourOWN

    WOW. . how convenient that everything is always a suicide or a 'mistake'.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. pntkl

    I hope and pray that James Davies' family and colleagues will all find the strength needed. :/

    November 10, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • pntkl

      I'm sorry I read some of the comments on page five; this brings a double meaning to never-mind the rest.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Randall

    It must have been the weed!

    November 10, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Fargo

    Well at least this time the cops shot and killed someone who was actually armed, and who was not in handcuffs, nude, or in a wheelchair.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • freedom44

      Like

      November 10, 2012 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
    • cgkai

      Wow what a lovely human being you are!

      November 10, 2012 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • liz1388

      I was thinking the same. Such a quandry for justice when it's cop on cop violence. Poor organization turns and bites them in the butt. Flawed human beings and guns are rarely a good mix.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • mslch

      targets and little guys

      November 10, 2012 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • mslch

      ran out of targets and unarmed little guys for practice

      November 10, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Domokun

    Always identify your target and whats behind it, sounds like this department needs more training.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. twalk

    If Romney had won the Presidency and/or the Republican won the Senate along with the HOuse this would not have happened.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. MashaSobaka

    I know that for every trigger-happy officer there are ten who don't leap at the opportunity to empty their gun into the first thing that moves, but stories like this make me very sad about the state of law enforcement.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. CueBallSTL

    It never ceases to amaze me how insensitive some people can be on these comment boards. Please understand that a cop, one of the good guys, lost his life, and another cop has to live with the guilt for the rest of his life. Try to imagine yourself in either of their shoes, or their families' shoes, before making any stupid snarky comments.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • cgkai

      I'm so glad to see that someone here isn't a complete freak...Thanks for pointing out what some of these other "humans" should find obvious, but seemingly can't!

      November 10, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. mslch

    they shoot to kill
    glad it wasnt an unarmed civilian
    obviously had no rule of engagement
    they were just trigger happy
    they always get off easy after they kill someone
    they kill more than serve and protect

    November 10, 2012 at 3:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      They shoot to stop. Your comment shows your ignorance. Quit basing your info on shows you have watched!

      November 10, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
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