Denver police: Suspect shot by officer charged at him with 10-inch blade

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DENVER (KDVR) — During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the Denver Police Department said the suspect shot by an officer on Saturday charged at him with a 10.75-inch knife.

The shooting happened about 1:40 p.m. Saturday near East 37th Avenue and Vine Street in the Cole neighborhood.

In Tuesday’s news conference, DPD Major Crimes Division Lt. Matt Clark said 911 dispatchers received a call about a man with a knife at 1:38 p.m. He was reportedly waving it around, and the caller was concerned because there were children in a nearby park.

An officer arrived at the scene two minutes later.

According to Clark, the officer parked away from the suspect on the opposite side of the street.

When the officer exited his vehicle, the suspect reportedly turned toward him and began “charging at the officer while continuing to hold the knife with his right hand.”

The suspect ignored the officer’s commands to drop the knife, Clark said.

A still image from DPD body camera footage during the officer-involved shooting on Sept. 26, 2020. Credit: Denver police

When the suspect was 12-15 feet away from the officer, the officer shot at him seven times.

“There was no available barrier, obstacle or cover for the officer as the subject sprinted towards him,” Clark said.

The suspect was shot and dropped the knife.

The knife recovered from the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Sept. 26, 2020. Credit: Denver police

According to Clark, the officer then called for additional officers and an ambulance.

The suspect was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. He remains in critical condition, Clark said.

Clark identified the suspect as 30-year-old Heber Gonzalez.

A 10.75-inch knife was recovered from the scene.

Clark said one of the officer’s seven rounds struck a nearby car. The bullet went through the driver’s door and into the steering column. While there was no one in the driver’s seat, a woman was in the passenger seat and a child was in the back seat. Neither was injured.

The officer’s name was not released. Per DPD policy, he is on modified duty while the investigation is underway.

Clark said the officer has been with DPD since 2018 and had not been involved in a police shooting before Saturday. He was not injured.

Gonzalez is being held for first-degree assault to a peace officer, felony menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

Anyone with information or video evidence is asked to contact DPD. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at: 720-913-7867.

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