Ronette Morales identified as woman shot, killed after shooting a Denver deputy Wednesday

Family: Morales suffered from mental illness

DENVER - The felony suspect who was shot and killed after police say she shot a Denver sheriff's deputy was identified Thursday.

Ronette Morales, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. Her identification has been confirmed and family members were notified. An autopsy is scheduled to be completed Thursday.

A family member told 7NEWS that Morales suffered from mental illness.

“She was paranoid,” the family member said. “But she was also a good mom.”

The exchange of gunfire occurred when two deputies tried to serve a felony arrest warrant for burglary, assault and harassment on Morales at an apartment complex at 305 Park Avenue West. One deputy was shot and his partner in turn shot and killed Morales.

"I heard the gunshots," one neighbor told 7NEWS. "Pop, pop, pop, pow! That’s it. That's all you heard."

Another neighbor, Jay Paul Apodaca, described the first shot as large caliber gunfire and the following shots as smaller caliber, “9mm type.”

Today, 7NEWS learned that Morales owned a .40 caliber handgun, which she had allegedly used previously to threaten a former boyfriend.

Court documents obtained by 7NEWS indicate that Morales was arrested in February 2011 for assault/menacing with a deadly weapon and for cruelty toward a child.

That case was dismissed because a key witness opted not to go forward.

In April 2012, Morales filed court petitions against two men seeking an "allocation of parental responsibilities." Such petitions are used by unmarried people to determine each parent's share of child support, parenting time and other parental responsibilities.

The wounded deputy was initially described as being in critical condition with non-life-threatening injuries. He was upgraded an hour later to fair condition, Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. Initial reports said the deputy was shot in the hand. 

Denver police confirm there were two children inside the apartment when the shooting happened. Officers said the children were not hurt, but were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The family member told 7NEWS that the children, a 1-year old boy and a 5-year old girl,  witnessed the shooting.

“I’m very concerned about the impact on those kids,” the family member said.

Both children have been placed with a relative.

Authorities haven’t released the name of the deputy who was shot.

The Morales family released a statement Thursday that read:

"We are relieved that the officer that was wounded is in recovery. We hope it is a full recovery. We are also deeply concerned about the officer that was forced to end Ronette's life. We are hopeful that his sense of duty, professional resources and most of all his loving family and friends will expedite his peace of mind. Nonetheless from time to time he will revisit this tragic event many times for the rest of his life. We are inclined to assist in any way, be it now or twenty years down the line.

Death is painful for only one group of people. The living. Ronette is at peace, as are all those who have ever died. We were able to cherish life with her and we will always cherish her memory in our lives. Ronette was a beautiful woman, compassionate mother, the most caring of sisters and dearest of daughters. She will be deeply missed. Ronette expressed a deep faith in God. However, she was not a member of any religious organization. She was aware of one fact; true peace can only come from one source. We encourage everyone to find that source."

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