DENVER – An Aurora Police Department officer was shot in the face and narrowly escaped serious injury in the shootout with a murder suspect Tuesday afternoon.
Aurora and Denver police held a news conference Wednesday to give further details on what turned into a confusing officer-involved shooting incident that spanned two cities.
Aurora police were first called out to Del Mar Circle Tuesday after a person with a weapon was reported. When officers arrived, they found a man with gunshot wounds at the scene. The man was taken to an area hospital, where he died.
That man was identified by the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office Wednesday as 35-year-old Antonio Norwood.
Witnesses at the scene told officers the suspect had left the shooting scene in a black Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and gave police the car’s license plate number.
The plate was traced back to an address on 46th Avenue in Denver, where Denver and Aurora police went and found the Monte Carlo.
The suspect, identified by the Denver OMI as 23-year-old Juan Ramos, came out of a home on the street carrying an infant in a baby carrier, which he placed inside the car.
Officers decided to try and arrest Ramos then, pulling up on him in an unmarked vehicle, according to DPD. The department says Ramos started to shoot at officers, three of whom returned fire.
DPD confirmed two officers from APD and one DPD officer shot at Ramos, who later died.
An Aurora officer who was driving the department’s tactical vehicle was shot in the face during the exchange.
The officer, who has not been identified, was shot just inches below his right eye, according to a photo of the wound released by police Wednesday.
“Had that round taken a different trajectory or been a half-inch higher or lower, it would have been a different story,” Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said. “We would have been planning a funeral.”
Though the officer hasn’t been identified, Metz said he has been with the department since 2003 and was recently assigned to the SWAT team.
“I feel this is a miracle, if not a blessing that he is still with us,” Metz said.
The officer earned a service ribbon in 2015 for his handling of an armed suicidal person, and another award in 2011 for rescuing a shooting victim, according to Metz.
Metz thanked DPD for their response, and gave extra gratitude to the DPD officer who drove the wounded officer to the Anschutz Medical Center in their patrol car. He also thanked the hospital for its work on the officer and for helping getting his family to Colorado.
Police said the baby in the the suspect’s car is “fine” after being checked out and is now with other family members.