Charges filed in incident that led to Lakewood officer being killed by friendly fire

Man accused of firing shots in air outside home

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - Formal charges were filed Friday against a man accused of firing a gun into the air outside a Lakewood home, where a responding police officer was later accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer.

Joe Anthony Ruiz, 37, appeared in Jefferson County court Friday to be advised of the charges related to his allegedly shooting into the air outside his home early on Nov. 9, said Jefferson County district attorney's spokeswoman Pam Russell.

Ruiz is charged with:

  • Felony possession of a weapon by a previous offender
  • Felony tampering with physical evidence
  • Misdemeanor disorderly conduct involving a firearm
  • Misdemeanor prohibited use of weapon, drunk with a gun
  • Misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer
  • Misdemeanor false reporting

The chain of events that ended in the deadly shooting began when officers responded on a report of a prowler near West 20th Avenue and Eaton Street, police said.

Officers searching for the prowler heard gun shots, went to investigate and found a man, later identified as Ruiz, firing shots in the air as he stood on the porch of his home at 1940 Eaton St., police said.

Police detained Joe Ruiz, Rebecca Ruiz and Richard Hernandez at the home and took them in for questioning.

As police searched around the outside of the home to ensure there were no other suspects, Lakewood Police Agent James Davies was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer who, in the dark, mistook Davies for a suspect, police said.

Ruiz is the only person to have been charged in the incident.  He remains free on $25,000 bond.

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