Police say RTD officer played critical role during situation with armed gunman

DENVER – The Denver Police Department says an RTD officer played a crucial role in controlling the scene in the moments before an officer-involved shooting near downtown Monday morning.

DPD says an RTD officer was first to have contact with the suspect.

“He was the eyes and ears. He bravely followed this individual in close proximity,” said DPD Division Chief Joe Montoya.

Police said the situation started Monday morning when the suspect, who was aboard an RTD bus, smashed the windshield. That man was asked to get off the bus near 7th Avenue and Lincoln Street. The incident was reported to transit officers. One transit officer was nearby and was the first to locate the suspect.

“He confronted the man and was trying to get some compliance to talk to him, at which point the gentleman pulled out a weapon. He recognized the threat but at that, point made the decision not to pull the trigger," Montoya said of the RTD officer's actions.

Investigators said the RTD officer used his radio to keep police informed on the suspect's location and actions as they arrived on scene.

Officers gave the man several verbal commands to drop the gun, but he refused.

The man then fired his gun 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.

The suspect died at the scene.

RTD said its officer is now taking some time away to decompress, but it commends his actions.

“This was a very tense situation and in my 32 years of law enforcement, I’ve never had to deal with something like this. I think he’s handling it remarkably well,” said RTD Chief of Police and Emergency Management Bob Grado.

The RTD officer was a former police officer with 33 years of law enforcement experience and training.

DPD has not yet released the suspect's name. It is working on contacting his family.

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