DENVER (AP) — Two police officers in a Denver suburb who shot a domestic violence suspect 14 times won't face charges, the Adams County District Attorney's Office announced after finding the use of force was reasonable.
"There is no reasonable likelihood of success of proving that the involved officers committed any crimes beyond a reasonable doubt at trial," District Attorney Dave Young wrote in a letter announcing his decision Friday.
Northglenn police began pursuing Hector Navarrette on Jan. 7 after a report that a man had dragged a woman off a porch and hit her in the face several times, The Denver Post reports.
Navarrette, 31, was driving a Mercedes reported stolen in Arvada, investigators said.
Navarrette allegedly had a large knife and loaded handgun and a blood-alcohol content of 0.195 percent, almost two-and-a-half times the legal limit for driving. He also allegedly had methamphetamine in a cup in the car.
Police confronted Navarrette in a parking lot in a park, where the Mercedes became stuck in snow.
"Both officers parked their patrol vehicles, exited and gave several loud commands for the driver to show his hands and turn off the vehicle. The suspect driver did not comply," Young's letter said.
Northglenn Officer Joshua Burke approached the driver's-side door of the Mercedes and shattered its window with his baton in an attempt to remove Navarrette.
As Navarrette tried to drive and the Mercedes' wheels spun, he appeared to police to reach for something in the front of the car, according to Young's letter.
The car eventually gained traction, causing Burke to fall. Officer Jarrod Guzman, who thought Burke had been run over or hit, returned to his car to pursue Navarrette and got in a head-on collision in which his patrol car became stuck to the Mercedes, according to Young.
"Officer Guzman was fearful that the driver had a gun within the car," Young's letter said.
The vehicles broke free before colliding again. Burke opened fire through the back window and Guzman, who had gotten out of his car, opened fire as well, the letter said.
One witness said she believed the officers' actions were justified and another thought Navarrette was trying to commit "suicide by cop," according to the letter.