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. Technology is sometimes behind

    Just saw the latest Bond who was issued a gun only workable by Bond himself. I envision an attachment ( coded)
    that will detect a fellow officer in the dark.They could tune into each other's firearm before going into a dimly lit
    scenario. Just dreaming of a way technology could prevent more friendly fier incidents. To the downed officer- R.I.P.
    still, a noble death.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mcr162

    Gee and he even wasn't a black cop.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tommy

    This wouldnt have been news if the cops had killed an innocent citizen do, which they often do, but rarely admit to.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FrayedJeff

    If shooting innocent civilians won't stop cops from shooting first asking questions later, perhaps shooting one of their own will.

    Sad. RIP

    November 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bryan

    As sad as this case is, it is very simply a product of the "do whatever first, ask questions later" militarization of local police departments post-911. They can investigate all they care to....and come up with whatever report "conclusions" they care to. This officer did not give a warning before shooting. If he did, it was -as- he was shooting. Just that this time, it wasnt an expendable civilian. Sadder but possible, deceased officer had something on the shooting officer.

    November 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sasquatch

    The only thing that surprises me...the fact he was only shot once. Or maybe they left that out intentionally. If it would have been the home owner or a suspect, lots more shots would have been fired!

    This is a real sad fact of our law enforcement and judicial system. Better to be sure he is dead if you are going to shoot at all, than have a survivor who may want to sue you.

    November 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Good point, Sasq. Do we know if it was a head shot?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. You Never Know

    Maybe it was a hit. Davies was untouchable and they wanted to get rid of him, if the department is full of crooked cops. It seems a little too convenient that the officer who shot him couldn't find a proper way of identifying a fellow officer.

    November 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bbbb

      I get tired of all these conspiracy theories against the police departments across the country. I'm no police officer but I understand these guys put their lives on the line everyday and all they get for thanks is people talking nonsense about them. This country is made up of a bunch of clowns.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Bbbb~~~ >>>I'm no police officer but I understand these guys put their lives on the line everyday and all they get for thanks is people talking nonsense about them.<<<< 1) No one forced these people to take these jobs. The waitress at the local diner gets no thanks too. What makes these guys special?? And before you say, "They risk their lives"..I refer you -back- to #1) no one FORCES these guys to take these jobs! Let'em work construction if they're going to whine 2) Why dont you venture over youtube and type in "cops beat handcuffed man", or, "cop tazers kid", or, "cops beat defensless woman"...or google, "NY Homicide detectives sentenced for performing mob hits"..and see how many results you get. No, its because the 80% of good cops wont -report- the bad ones. Thus my..and a bunch of others nationwide... lack of universal and unconditional "thanks" to these folks. PS Yep, they'd be the first I'd call if I needed to. Thats their -job-.... and freedom of speech and justifiable dissent is my right in this country last I checked.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean Dalrymple

      If the country is made up of clowns, and officers are citizens, doesn't that make officers clowns?

      November 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dorian3333

      YNK....and none lse that thinks like this are pathetic. No person or organization is perfect but some of you sound like you are. Must be great to sit behind your mom's computer and cast barbs at the people who protect you. Just pathetic.

      May the officer killed RIP.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gster

    First rule of shooting.. know your target. Seems like poor training or an officer who shoudn't have a gun. It will all get whitewashed in the end. The widow will get a nice flag and some insurance money.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hector

    RIP! As a service member who has served in combat units during night assaults I am fully aware of ROE's but in the heat of battle, nerves, senses, and fear does impede. It's an incredibely hard job to be in the line of duty day in and day out. My condolensces to the family, the men and women of the precint and all that serve to protect. Firefighters, Police Officers and my fellow service members, Thank you all and remember fast is smooth and smooth is fast!

    November 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Amen. Well said, Hector. And thank you for your service.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Thor

    Have we all forgot about the New York shootings a few yr's ago , when in separate places of the city , one black man was shot at 44 times by 3 or 4 offficers hitting the man 22 times while standing in a hallway , he was from another country , and another black man also was shot many times by several young police officers , after he was on the ground they kept shooting until someone said to stop, in both shootings all the police got off , neither man had a gun or any other weapon, if this kind of behavior continuess with young police officers all it's going to do is start a war against the police dept's.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Trigger happy police are always killing innocent people. You would think these cops would learn by now.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DickPerry

    I can hardly wait until Obama takes away the guns from the american population who has proven that even their own police can't handle them safely.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. achepotle

    how sad is that, eh?

    November 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mike johnson

    ... if you are a cop ... are you supposed to yell something to the other guy like "put down your weapon " prior to shooting to kill ... appears to me that did not take place ....

    November 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. g2-f7f1bfddcd2a8597d7bf81343067218b

    more than likely, this wasn't an "accident". Sounds to me like a Pat Tillman accident. Investigate as a murder.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Randy

    Nobody ahd a flashlight ??

    November 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
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