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ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — A man accused of shooting and killing an Arvada Police officer early Sunday morning has been identified.

Sonny Almanza’s mother said her family called police when her son’s girlfriend’s family “came to start trouble.” She said officers were breaking up a fight between the two families and her son fired at the officer thinking he was one of his girlfriend’s family members.

Two officers responded to the disturbance on the 6700 block of West 51st Avenue around 2:30 a.m. when they were met with an agitated crowd of people involved in a confrontation. When the officers attempted to defuse the situation and separate the group, shots were fired and Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff was hit, along with a woman in the melee. Officers returned fire, shooting Almanza.

Sonny Almanza booking photo
Sonny Almanza, 31, is accused of shooting and killing Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff on Sept. 11, 2022. (Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

Vakoff was taken to Lutheran Hospital where he died from his injuries. Almanza and the woman were taken to the hospital where they’re both expected to survive.

The woman who was shot has not been identified nor what her relationship is to the suspect.

The 31-year-old is facing eight charges including first-degree murder of a peace officer, unlawful weapon possession by a previous offender and child abuse.