Jun 16, 2021 - News

5 police shootings in 30 days prompt concern in Denver

Illustration of a police badge wrapped up in yellow tape that reads, "Police Line Do Not Cross."

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Five people in 30 days died after being shot by a Denver police officer, with the latest fatal shooting on Sunday.

  • In all the incidents, police said the person carried a weapon and they fired after the person refused to follow their commands to surrender.

Why it matters: The rapid succession of deadly shootings in one city appears without precedent in 2021 or 2020, according to a list of police shootings compiled by Colorado Public Radio.

What they're saying: Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, whose office investigates all police-involved shootings, told Axios in a statement that she is "concerned about the numbers and the alarming number of people carrying guns in the city."

  • Police chief Paul Pazen also blamed the prevalence of guns, saying the frequency "is unusual" but "officers' encounters with armed individuals mirror a concerning increase in gun-related crime in Denver."

Details: Here's a look at the fatal shootings, based on law enforcement reports.

  1. May 14: Police shot and killed a man in the Barnum neighborhood after a pursuit that ended in a crash. The man shot at them from his car during the chase. Police called out to the man to surrender and fired at him when he threatened them with a handgun.
  2. May 19: A man wielding a knife was shot and killed in southwestern Denver after he refused to drop the weapon and advanced toward officers. Officers said they first fired a pepper ball and Taser at the man but it did not stop him.
  3. May 30: Shannon Wright, 29, was shot and killed on West Alameda Avenue one minute after police responded to a robbery call. Two officers said they told Wright to drop the assault rifle slung over his shoulder and fired at him after he pointed it at them.
  4. June 4: Multiple officers shot and killed an unidentified man in the North Park Hill neighborhood after they said he did not meet demands to put down a weapon. Police were called after reports of a person firing a weapon from a car near a recreation center.
  5. June 13: Police officers shot and killed Duane Manzanares Jr., 30, who they said refused to comply with their commands and reached toward a weapon. The initial call reported a man shooting into an unoccupied vehicle in the East Colfax neighborhood.

The big picture: At least 22 police shootings so far this year took place in Colorado, according to media reports, 18 of which involved a fatality.


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