JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Tuesday, 31-year-old Sonny Almanza went before a judge at the Jefferson County Courthouse for a hearing on charges after he allegedly killed Officer Dillon Vakoff.
Appearing through video, Almanza and his attorney waived the formal reading of his charges.
According to the Office of the First Judicial District Attorney, Almanza was formally charged in connection to the Sept. 11 murder of Vakoff and attempted murder of Mercedes Lopez in Arvada
Almanza was charged with the following 11 counts:
- Murder in the first degree after deliberation/with the intent of a peace officer against Vakoff
- Murder in the first degree after deliberation/with intent against Vakoff
- Murder in the first degree, extreme indifference against Vakoff
- Criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree, after deliberation/with intent against Lopez
- Criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree, extreme indifference against Lopez
- Assault in the second degree against Lopez
- Possession of a weapon by a previous offender
- Large-capacity magazine prohibited during crime
- First-degree criminal trespass
- Two counts of crime of violence
Almanza was arrested after the disturbance in the 6700 block of West 51st Avenue at around 2:30 a.m. Two officers arrived and worked to defuse an agitated crowd. Shots were fired, and Vakoff was hit, along with Lopez. Officers returned fire, shooting Almanza.
Vakoff was transported to Lutheran Hospital shortly after that and died from his injuries.
Almanza spent several days in the hospital before being transported to jail.
Attorneys and people who know Almanza declined to comment at the hearing.
Almanza will be in court again next month on Oct. 7.