Deadly weekend points to apparent spike in officer-involved shootings in Colorado

DENVER – A recent report showing a spike in officer-involved shootings in Denver appears to be bearing out for the rest of the metro area.

Since the beginning of June, there have been at least eight separate shootings involving officers. Five of those incidents have proven fatal for the suspects involved. No officers were fatally injured in Colorado this year from any of the reported cases.

The last day of the month marked the deadliest day of the year. Three suspects were killed in three separate incidents involving Littleton, Westminster and Larimer County officers.

Early Friday morning, Littleton officers shot and killed a female carjacking suspect and critically wounded another during a shootout near South Santa Fe Drive and West Mississippi Avenue after lengthy chase that spanned across three different cities.

Later in the evening, a man wanted on several warrants was fatally shot by Westminster officers after police say he brandished a weapon as he tried to get away. This happened in the area of West 68th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard at around 6:40 p.m. 

Not an hour went by when another officer-involved shooting was reported in the state, this time in Larimer County. A man, later identified as Chet Knuppel, 23, was eluding deputies when he crashed in a field near the intersection of Highway 392 and County Road 9 and fled on foot before Knuppel was shot and killed by a deputy.

The next day, Larimer County was the scene of yet another deadly officer-involved shooting. Officers from the Fort Collins Police Department and Colorado State University Police were involved in a shooting of a 19-year-old Fort Collins man near campus. The suspect, identified as Jeremy Holmes, was killed by officers after police say he failed to put his weapon down during a confrontation with officers.

Before this busy weekend, there were four other shootings in the past month involving officers from several jurisdictions including Loveland, Aurora, Littleton and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The Denver Office of the Independent Monitor released findings in May showing the number of incidents in Denver is at a five-year high. 

According to the annual report, there were 12 officer-involved shootings in Denver in 2016. That is a slight increase from the previous year and the highest number of incidents involving the Denver Police Department in five years.  The report didn’t point to a possible cause for the increase.

There has been a total of 12 officer-involved shootings in Colorado so far in 2017, according to a national database.

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