Police say Pueblo man swigged whiskey, reached for handgun before officers shot and killed him

Local News

Officer-involved shooting on E. Colfax Ave. (KDVR)

DENVER (KDVR) — Police said a man who officers shot dead on Sunday was suspected of firing a handgun into a parked vehicle and, in the final moments of his life, swigged Fireball whiskey and reached for the gun in his waistband.

The man has been identified as 30-year-old Duane Manzanares Jr., who a Denver Police Department spokesperson said is from Pueblo.

The shooting marks yet another in a string of similarly described police shootings in Denver in recent weeks, with officers shooting and killing someone suspected of firing a gun in public.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Denver Police Commander Matt Clark said three officers fired at Manzaneras, who was suspected of firing rounds into a vehicle on East Colfax Avenue and who “appeared agitated and noncompliant” before officers opened fire.

“They recognized he was not responding to their direction, and they were concerned that he was going to draw and fire the handgun at the officers as he moved his hand towards his waist,” Clark said. “In response, three Denver police officers discharged their firearms at the subject.”

He said the officers fired 11 rounds, and the shooting was captured on the three officers’ activated body cameras.

Clark said around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, someone reported a man was firing rounds into a parked vehicle, and they described the man to officers upon their arrival. The officers soon found spent shell casings and the damaged vehicle in the 1500 block of Ulster Street, just off of Colfax.

Minutes later, officers found Manzaneras with a semi-automatic handgun visible in his waistband as he walked eastbound on Colfax near Yosemite Street, Clark said.

Clark said that when officers stopped their vehicle on Colfax, Manzaneras turned around and faced them and began drinking a small container of Fireball whiskey, while they commanded him to put his hands on his head and not to reach for the gun.

Manzaneras then “discarded the empty bottle of Fireball whiskey onto the ground before dropping his right hand towards his waistband area, near the firearm, and also moving his left hand behind his back out of the view from officers,” Clark said.

That’s when officers opened fire. It happened around 5:45 p.m.

Clark said officers applied tourniquets and rendered aid. Manzaneras was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Clark said investigators found four spent shell casings near the scene, although forensic tests will determine whether they belonged to Manzaneras’ handgun — a .45-caliber H&K semi-automatic.

A toxicology report is pending.

The officers involved were all uniformed District 2 patrol officers in marked vehicles, and two of them have been with the department for two years and the third for three years, Clark said. They will be on modified duty while the investigation is underway.

One of those officers had fired his weapon during a separate shooting incident that the Denver District Attorney’s Office found to be justified, he said.

The Denver and Aurora Police Departments, along with the Denver DA, will investigate the shooting, and it will be monitored by Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor, a civilian group.

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