Man killed in officer-involved shooting near downtown Denver identified

DENVER — The man who was shot and killed by an officer near downtown Denver last week has been identified.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner said Monday that Christopher Barela, 22, died at the scene from gunshot wounds.

According to Denver Police Department Division Chief of Investigations Joseph Montoya, the incident began the morning of July 1 with a disturbance on a Regional Transportation District bus.

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

An RTD officer confronted Barela 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 Barela 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.

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

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

No officers were injured in the incident.

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