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Shots fired in Five Points: Suspect dead, deputy injured

DENVER — A Denver Sheriff’s deputy was shot and injured while trying to serve a warrant on a woman Wednesday. The female suspect was shot and killed in the altercation.

“Engine three has the officer that’s down at this time, they have plenty of police protection here and this is an active crime scene!” Emergency personnel said on their radio communications as they arrived on scene at 305 Park Avenue West Wednesday morning.

Neighbors say 28-year- old Ronetta “Ronnie” Morales lived in the publicly subsidized apartment on Park Avenue West with her 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

She told many people she kept a .44 caliber handgun for what she called “protection against her enemies.”

“It was obvious one large round, maybe a .44 caliber or a .357 magnum was shot off,” says neighbor J. Paul Podaca.

Two Sheriff’s deputies came to her apartment with a warrant for her arrest on several felony charges just after 9:30 a.m. The Denver Department of Safety says the warrant was for Burglary, Assault and Harassment.

Denver police investigators say she opened fire on them.

“She shot one of the deputies in the hand,” says Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson. “The deputy that was accompanying the other deputy returned fire striking the suspect.”

The injured deputy was in fair condition late Wednesday.

The exchange of gunfire shattered windows inside a gated entryway to the apartment.

“I heard like about four or five, maybe six gunshots,” says Angel, a witness. “Inside it sounded like somebody was knocking like a hammer.”

Streets were shut down in the neighborhood. “I woke up to cops running everywhere with assault rifles and handguns,” says witness Ben Beasley. “It was just crazy.”

The injured deputy was rushed to Denver Health Medical Center along with Morales’ two children.

“Shortly after they bring the deputy out they bring one of the little kids, the little girl, and it was obvious that she was shaken up because she was the first voice that was heard crying,” Podaca says.

Cindy Matthews with Denver Health says the children didn’t have any injuries but the paramedics brought them to the hospital anyway. They were to meet with some social workers.

One man who didn’t want to his identity revealed says Morales was diagnosed with severe mental problems.

Another neighbor says the once-friendly neighbor had become more agitated in public.

MORE ABOUT DEPUTIES

Police have not released the names of the deputies involved but sources tell FOX31 Denver the injured deputy is Don Travis, a 16-year-veteran. Sources also say the deputy who shot the suspect is Eric Givens.

The two were involved in a shooting February of 2010 when they were attempting to arrest 23-year-old Brendan Cook on the 1200 block of Knox Ct. on a drug warrant.

Cook jumped out of a window and got in a car and hit Travis. He had minor injuries. One of the deputies fired into the suspect’s vehicle. Cook was not seriously hurt. Travis received the department’s Medal of Valor following that incident.

One man who didn’t want to his identity revealed says Morales was diagnosed with severe mental problems.

Another neighbor says the once-friendly neighbor had become more agitated in public.