DENVER — The uniformed RTD contract security officer who was shot and killed in Lower Downtown late Tuesday night was a former pastor and police officer.
Scott Von Lanken, 56, was married and has two daughters. Von Lanken, of Loveland, was a former pastor at a church in Loveland.
The shooting happened just after 11 p.m. at 16th and Wynkoop streets on Union Station Plaza, one block from Union Station, the Denver Police Department said.
“This is an incredibly sad day for us, and on behalf of the entire RTD family I extend my prayers and express my sincere condolences to the officer’s family, friends and loved ones,” RTD general manager and CEO Dave Genova said in a statement.
Police identified the suspect as 37-year-old Joshua Cummings. He was in jail Wednesday.
Police said at a news conference Wednesday morning that two women were asking the armed security officer about light rail routes when a man approached from behind, pointed a gun at the officer’s neck and fired.
“It’s really disheartening when anyone loses their life, but especially when we have someone out there providing safety to the community at large,” Denver police chief Robert White said.
Von Lanken was employed by Allied Universal, which provides security services under contract for RTD.
“Our entire team is deeply saddened by this loss,” RTD assistant general manager of safety and security Mike Meader said. “RTD and Allied Universal have been in contact with the officer’s family and will continue to offer our support during this sad time.”
“Allied Universal is devastated by the loss of our valued security professional, a dedicated six-year employee, who was shot in the line of duty last night while proudly performing his duties in downtown Denver,” the company said in a statement.
“We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. The company intends to make a contribution in honor of the family to show our unwavering support. We ask that you join with us in keeping our fallen comrade’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”
A memorial fund to help support Von Lanken’s wife and two children has been established through the Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Credit Union.
It’s under Scott Von Lanken’s name on the credit union’s website or by calling 303-458-6660.
A coworker at RTD also set up a GoFundMe account for the family.