No criminal conduct found in DA's examination of cop fatally shooting fellow officer
Officer James Davies shot to death last November
Lakewood Police Officer James "Jim" Davies was killed in the line of duty in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2012.
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Last Updated: 322 days ago
LAKEWOOD, Colo. - A district attorney found no criminal conduct in the case of a Lakewood officer mistakenly opening fire and killing another cop.
Officer James "Jim" Davies, 35, was killed on Nov. 9 when he was shot by Officer D.J. Braley during an investigation at a home near 20th Avenue and Eaton Street. Police had been called to the area on the reports of someone firing a gun.
According to District Attorney Peter Weir's findings, the incident was "tragic."
"In the final analysis, it cannot be disproven that Agent Braley's acts of self defense were reasonable," wrote Weir.
Braley was one of the last officers to respond to the Lakewood home.
The investigation determined that given the information Braley had about the situation at the home, he was justified in his use of self defense.
"His conduct did not violate any criminal statues," wrote Weir.
According to the DA's report, Davies and another officer were covering the north side of the back yard fence. Both officers had flashlights, but Davies' battery was running low.
The other officer reported their position, but Davies later responded by radio when a sergeant asked to confirm if someone was still on the backside of the home.
The two officers could only see into the backyard by peeking between the slats of the fence and occasionally standing on a nearby ladder, the report said.
Eventually, a call came over the radio asking for more officers to help with clearing the home. The second officer responded and Davies was left alone on the far side of the fence.
Braley, a SWAT officer, was at the Lakewood Police station. He volunteered to deliver "catch poles" to the house so officers could remove dogs from the home. Braley headed to the area at approximately 3:15 a.m. and another officer responded with directions.
Sgt. Tom Grady told the investigation that in the time between 3:15 a.m. and 3:40 a.m., Braley had arrived at the home and received a quick overview of the situation. He had also taken a few minutes to put on his tactical gear. Together with the sergeant and another SWAT-trained officer, they went into the home and caught one of the dogs before deciding to check other rooms from outside.
Grady told Braley they had to clear the back yard before they could do that, the report said.
Braley was armed with an AR 15 when he was checking the area around a carport that had a tarp stretched from the roof to the ground.
Braley, who was interviewed alongside his attorney eight days after the incident, recalled hearing a male voice while checking the area around the carport but only understood the word, "hey."
"It sounded as if the person was trying to get his attention. The words the person was speaking sounded slurred as if the individual was drunk. Agent Braley could not understand any of the words and he immediately directed his attention to where he was hearing the speech. He had a light attached this rifle which he activated," the report says.
Braley told the investigation he had spotted most of the head and hands of a male looking over the fence. He also saw the man was holding a black handgun.
After yelling, "Police, drop the gun. Drop the gun," Braley said he saw the gun being raised. He believed the man was targeting him in order to shoot and Braley fired in response.
Grady told investigators that Braley "came up around the corner, he yelled 'gun.' He then yelled 'drop the gun, drop the gun' and then he fired his AR 15 rifle three or four times."
The officers were cautious in approaching the body. According to the report, Grady said he was the first to recognize the body was wearing a Lakewood patch.
Braley had hit Davies once in the head.
7NEWS has confirmed with Lakewood police that Braley remains on paid administrative leave.
The investigation determined, "any potential failure to be aware of officer location, failure to notify other officers of location or of any failure to warn which created risks to fellow agents falls directly under the purview of the Lakewood Police Department's policies and procedures and could be subject to an internal affairs investigation and resulting sanctions imposed by that agency."
"Comprehensive training must address this tragic situation so that every effort has been made to ensure that the likelihood of losing a gifted and dedicated agent such as Agent Davies is eliminated to the greatest extent possible," wrote Weir.
An internal affairs investigation is ongoing.
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