ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — Officer Dillon Michael Vakoff, who was killed in the line of duty, is believed to be Arvada’s first murder victim in 2022.

According to data from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation on violent crimes from the Arvada Police Department, murder is a rare crime committed in the city. Crime statistics show zero murders had been committed in Arvada as of July 31 of this year.

CBI defines murder as “the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another.”

The suspect in Vakoff’s death, Sonny Almanza, is facing murder charges. If Almanza is convicted, this would mean Vakoff is the first murder victim in the city in 2022.

However, Vakoff’s death is not the first homicide in Arvada. On June 27, officers with the Arvada Police Department opened fire on a suspect who they said attempted to crash into officers with a stolen truck. The suspect was shot and killed. If the officers in this shooting are cleared, the homicide would be deemed non-criminal.

The city northwest of Denver covers almost 40 square miles of land, and according to the city’s website, it has a population of more than 120,000 residents.

Murder cases are uncommon in Arvada. Data from CBI shows 11 murders were committed between 2018 to 2021.

Almost 15 months before Vakoff’s death, on June 21, 2021, an Arvada police officer, a civilian and a gunman died after a shooting in Olde Town Arvada. Officer Gordon Beesley, who died in the incident, was with the Arvada Police Department for 19 years.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, only two Arvada police officers have been killed by gunfire in the line of duty, Vakoff and Beesley. Vakoff and Beesley were shot within 1.7 miles of each other.

Vakoff was an Arvada resident who graduated from Ralston Valley High School in 2012 and served six years in the U.S. Air Force.

“His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Arvada Police Chief Link Strate said.  

You can donate to the fallen officer’s fund on this official donation page.