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Denver police: Man shot and killed by officers on New Year's Eve lunged at officers with knife

Posted at 4:17 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 18:18:35-05

DENVER – The man who was shot and killed by Denver police officers around 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day allegedly lunged at them with a knife as they were working to ensure the home was safe to return home to for a person who was threatened by the same man earlier that morning.

The police shooting happened at a home at 901 S. Irving Street at 1:12 a.m. on Wednesday – New Year’s Day.

Denver Police Lt. Matt Clark said at a Thursday news conference that dispatch had received a call from that address around 12:50 a.m. Wednesday in which the caller said he’d been threatened by a man with a knife inside the home and had fled.

Officers met the victim a few blocks away – near Mississippi Ave. and Irving St. – and were told that there had been an argument and that the suspect had threatened the man with a knife and assaulted him.

Clark said officers saw a contusion on the man’s forehead, a laceration on his hand and that his nose was bloody. He said the suspect had followed him for a little while as he fled the residents, Clark said.

The victim asked officers to go with him back to the home to be sure the home was safe and to check on two women who also lived there, and to talk to the suspect to calm him down, Clark said.

He said officers went to the home, identified themselves as police, and started clearing the home.

As two officers were going from the kitchen to the garage, Clark said, the suspect jumped out from another stairwell that led to the basement and lunged toward the first officer with what Clark said was a 10-inch knife.

Clark said the first officer was able to dodge the blade while at the same time shooting the suspect. The second officer, who was just behind the first, also fired one shot at the suspect, Clark said.

Clark said the suspect was hit and fell, dropping his knife. He died at the scene.

Clark identified the suspect Thursday as Gerardo Antonio Conchas-Bustos, 20. He said that the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Conchas-Bustos on Thursday morning, but he did not have the results.

Clark said the two officers’ body cameras captured the incident and the shooting and that both were on standard administrative leave pending the investigation into the shooting. He said the first officer, whom Conchas-Bustos allegedly lunged at, fired five shots and the other officer fired once.

He said that the first officer and suspect were “right on top of each other” and said it was “fortunate” the officer was not stabbed or cut because it was “very close.”

Clark said investigators are still working to find out more about what led up to the incident that preceded the shooting and asked anyone with information to call DPD or CrimeStoppers.

Court records indicate Conchas-Bustos’ only prior criminal activity involved a traffic violation.