Denver police: Man fired into the air before being shot by officer on Lincoln Street

DENVER — The man who was shot and killed by a Denver Police Department officer Monday morning on Lincoln Street fired into the air twice and aimed his gun at an officer before the officer shot, according to police.

DPD Division Chief of Investigations Joseph Montoya said in a news conference Tuesday the incident began with a disturbance on a Regional Transportation District bus.

Somewhere between the intersections of Alameda Avenue and Lincoln Street, and First Avenue and Lincoln, a man damaged the windshield of a bus, according to police and RTD Chief of Police and Emergency Management Bob Grado.

An RTD officer confronted the man and followed him as he walked north on Lincoln Street. While walking north, he fired a round into the air, Montoya said.

The RTD officer was in communication with police, providing updates and helping officers prepare to arrive on scene. Having the RTD officer on scene to help, Montoya said, was “very crucial.”

“He was the eyes and ears,” Montoya said.

Officers gave the man several verbal commands to drop the gun, but he refused. One deputy was driving to work when he saw the man and stopped to help.

The man then fired his gun again into the air and leveled it at an officer who had taken cover behind a tree. The officer then shot him with an assault rifle.

Officers had a lot to consider during the confrontation, Montoya said, like the people driving by and those working inside nearby office buildings.

“The sanctity of life and just being diligent in how we handle these situations is of utmost importance to us,” he said.

The incident took about five minutes from the time police got a “shots fired” call at 7:10 a.m., the first time the man allegedly shot his weapon into the air. Police arrived to help the RTD officer around 7:13 a.m., and Montoya said the confrontation ended by 7:15 a.m.

The DPD officer who fired his weapon has been with the department for 18 years. He is on administrative leave, per department policy.

Authorities have not yet released the name of the suspect. They are working on contacting his family.

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