DENVER — An officer with the Denver Police Department fatally shot a non-compliant man who charged her with an obtuse item that she thought was a knife. It turned out to be a black marker, law enforcement authorities revealed.
During a Monday news conference, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said, “This is a tremendous tragedy.” Ultimately, the Denver District Attorney’s Office will review the totality of circumstances surrounding the shooting and make a determination on the legality of the use of lethal force.
The encounter began when a neighbor called 911 on Aug. 5 to report a potential domestic violence incident involving Cole, his wife and his teenage son, according to the Denver Post.
Cmdr. Matt Clark said Monday the caller reported the woman may have been pushed out of her wheelchair, and that Cole was “going after” his son.
Upon officers arrival, the female adult was sitting on the street next to a wheelchair. According to police bodycam, she said, “Don’t, don’t pull your gun out on my husband, please.”
The officer replies by asking if she needs EMS, just as Cole steps away from the driver’s side of an SUV parked near the woman. The officer immediately said to Cole, “Let me see your hands.”
Cole then started shouting and an officer deployed a Taser on him. Investigators said they believe only one probe from the device struck Cole. Therefore, it did not have the desired effect and he subsequently charged the other officer with the obtuse item at chest level, causing her to fire her weapon and shoot the charging man.
A woman and a young child who were nearby when the shooting occurred were not injured, nor were they involved in the call, reported WAFB.
“You can see in the video that when she finally deploys her duty weapon, the person is so close to her that the view of the young child and other person are not even clear to her,” Thomas said. “Certainly that was a consideration, but there was not much time to act before she was overrun by that individual.”
The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified. Authorities said she’s been with the department since 2019.