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. Shalisa

    This is Obama's fault. If Romney had been elected, this would have never happened.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. zscape123

    Whose life was being threatened by someone in the dark with a gun???
    Why do these cops shoot to kill when there is no imminent danger ?
    No one threatened the shooter, so WHY DID HE SHOOT TO KILL?
    Don't these guys get some training about when to shoot and when NOT to shoot?
    What a shame on the entire police department and their failure to train properly.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • herchato

      Was scared, way too scared? Maybe should sit at a desk or take up another profession?

      November 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paleo Conservative

    Flashlights as an issued item perhaps?

    November 10, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. dave

    Police..... always there 30 minutes after you need them.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. outawork

    Keystone cops.....

    November 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paleo Conservative

    Police are way too trigger-happy these days, as seen by this incident.

    November 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5-0

      Idiot. Try slipping on a vest, strapping on a gun and putting your life on the line for others before you spew your garbage.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Cop shoots another cop.....AHHHHHHHHHHHH HAHAHAHAHA that is just great. Too bad he didn't get a few more......classic.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roy McKnerney

    This was an ACCIDENT and these "trigger happy cop" comments are totally inappropriate. This was an extremely dangerous situation that most civilians will never face and have no idea of the stress they were under. Thank God there are people willing to do this job. (and this is from a civilian with no connection whatsoever to anyone on the force)

    November 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daremonai

      While the comments might be a bit hyperbolic, they do point to a real problem. Shootings like this indicate a false positive, a case where an officer believed there was a threat but there was not. Over the last few decades false positives have taken a back seat in police thinking, more and more they will err on the side of 'I might have been in danger, so I killed' resulting in a significant number of deaths at the hands of police.... and as a community LEO just doesn't seem to care.

      When an officer is killed by one of their own however, it makes the false positives something that actually impacts them.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ssampson

      Giving people a pass simply because of the job is ludicrous – 'Trigger-happy' these days is a reasonable assumption (albeit and assumption)

      Oh – and you are right – MOST civilians would not encounter these situations – So just so you know.... I haven't always been a civilian....

      Situations like these require training – more than we give most law enforcement today – accident or not, there was a lack of C&C on the site – everyone should know where others are (or expected to be.

      Read into that – if it isn't the fault of the shooting officer, it is the fault of he command – there are NO excuses beyond that.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr. butters

      It seems to me the officer should have full line of sight. There were far too many variables to take that shot. Specifically it was too dark.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • jn122736

      Roy McKnerney said: This was an ACCIDENT and these "trigger happy cop" comments are totally inappropriate. This was an extremely dangerous situation that most civilians will never face. ------–

      You couldn’t be more wrong. Civilians are facing exactly this threat on a daily basis from trigger-happy police nationwide. These stories make the headlines almost on a daily basis.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Think

    Who are the people that become cops and why are so many so dumb and trigger happy and why do they typically think they are above other people. I'm sure a psychologist has done a study of these people. The way they act and perform, leads me to think there is something really wrong with them. They for some reason think they are GOD in the way they approach people. But they themselves are below in ability and character it seems more often than not.

    November 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • wobbles

      Don't call 911 then. Go handle your own problems. You seem to hold yourself as somehow being superior. You go out and deal with the armed crook victimizing you. Couldn't have those less than perfect cops doing it wrong, eh? Good luck, and tell us where to send flowers when the crooks kill you.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. idiotswithguns

    Another example of an idiot who shoots first BEFORE identifying a targer. Hint: Don't fire at something unless you see clearly what it is....

    Unfortunately, it will happen again and again. Fathers will shoot their kids and cops will shoot at ANYTHING,

    November 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. C

    That is too bad. Usually Cops are horrible shots.

    November 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wobbles

    Be funnier when you are the one we are reading about dead. Hope that won't be too long. I hate to wait for good news.

    November 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cb

    The cop shot at someone before knowing whether or not that person was a true risk to his own life. Like when they pump a dozen shots into a guy with a knife from 20 feet away. Really? We expect them to make good decisions but they don't always do that. Thank goodness the cop didn't kill a child. Maybe he'll get a full retirement pension for PTSD. Moron.

    November 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dakattack

    very sad, but did the officer that was shot make any agressive moves to warrant Deadly force?

    November 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. alawaysthecynic

    Did he shoot thru the fence,If he did charge him.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Reality Check

    I have difficulty classifying this as an accident. Accidents occur because someone involved fails to perceive the potential danger. What happened here was completely foreseeable. It appears to be explained only by defects in the selection process of candidates for police officers, or by inappropriate and/or inadequate officer training, or both. Given the ever-increasing number of police officer involved shootings that are, at best, questionable, I have concerns that the selection and training of our police officers have changed from the tried-and-true criteria of times past.
    Police officers are entrusted with the ability to use deadly force, and they MUST do so responsibly. It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that OUR OFFICERS are properly selected and trained. So what ever happened to that part of law enforcement officers firearms and situational training that teaches them to use their firearms only when absolutely necessary, and to be SURE of the target BEFORE squeezing the trigger?
    Since fatalities from mistakes in the selection and training of officers cannot be undone, perhaps WE should be responsible to ensure that we have the right people as officers and who successfully complete appropriate training. We do not need any more children with a dead parent from an inappropriate officer shooting.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
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