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.
Let's see. The crooked cop shot the good cop for fear of squealing... and calls it an, "accident"... yeah right...
the one thing that i learned in the military is that friendly fire isnt
exactly. ask Tillman...oh wait
This is a sad tragedy. If I were the officer that made the shooting mistake I would probably resign or at least transfer to some other position that doesn't involve carrying a firearm.
Must have been human error.
Be interesting to see what the investigators determine was the reason that another Denver cop shot and killed someone so quickly..Now that its another cop they may admit that Denver area cops shoot first and ask questions later..But probably not...They will blame it on something or someone else...
Why the deadly force? Seems like non fatal blow would have taken the "assailant" down. Same thing they do with dogs, shoot to kill then ask questions.
You think we should just shoot them in the legs? They will have plenty of time to shoot you in the head as they are falling down to the ground. A verbal warning should always be given before action.
I hear what you're saying jurassicmarkus but since when does law enforcement shoot to take an assailant down? Nearly every case I've ever read about has involved deadly force. General rule of thumb seems to be if they're going to shoot, they shoot to kill.
So what would you have done slick? If I have a firearm in my hand, what non-lethal option are you going to use? They only options you get are verbal judo, ASP, Taser, and Pepper Spray. I hope are faster than my trigger pull.
Police and firemen and women have the most dangerous, unappreciated, and underpaid jobs in our country.I feel bad for the family of the slain officer and for the one who made this tragic error. I would not want to be a police officer no matter what they paid me. I am sure there are are few bad apples as in any large group of people but there are many more fine officers just trying to get home to their families at night. I know no police personally but I appreciate what they do for me every day.
The job is dangerous if conducted properly. As seen in this example, sometimes they want to make it easier and safer.
Figured they'd blame a BLACK MAN.
All cats are black after dark.
Well there you go. I guess the trigger happy uniformed officers will stop taking lives and start taking knees out like the old days. No lose of life and the person will be a lot easier to catch next time.. Death caused by police is to high.
Sounds like one denver cop found out what it feels like to be black ... too bad he died before he could explain it to anyone. Normal police behavior,
Shoot first ask questions later, even when you don't know what you are shooting at. They train them that way. Im just glad it was another officer and not a pregnant woman or a little kid.
Sounds too fishy. Perhaps an inside job to get rid of the officer? Sure hope not.
Sincere condolences to the family. A horrific tragedy.
I agree. Don't they carry flashlights? Maybe he was an honest cop and didn't adhere to the Blue Code.
Shoot first ask questions later, even when you don't know what you are shooting at. They train them that way. I am just relieved it was another officer and not a pregnant lady or a kid playing in his backyard.
Something comes to mind immediately:
Where did he get shot? If he was shot in the chest, why didn't his vest do its job? If he was in the same uniform, how could the other guy not see that? If it was so dark that he couldn't see the cop who was just in the house with him, how could he see to get a clear shot or see that the suspect had a gun?
What the cops do in Houston is shoot first ask questions later. Looks like Colorado is following by example.
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