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Man killed in Englewood police shooting was brother of suspect accused of shooting at police

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 14:30:41-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man who was killed during an Englewood police shooting Sunday evening was the brother of a suspect accused of shooting at the officers in the first place, according to a probable cause statement. Both men were inside a home at the time of the shooting.

On Sunday at 7:39 p.m., officers with the Englewood Police Department responded to 5007 S. Grove Street on a report of a suicidal person with a gun. The 911 caller said her son, 29-year-old Phillip Loren Blankenship of Englewood, was intoxicated, causing a disturbance, and wanted to kill himself, according to a probable cause statement for the warrantless arrest of Blankenship. He had fired the gun inside the house, the caller said.

Englewood police set up a perimeter and commanded Blankenship to exit the home. A person inside responded, "Give me a minute," according to the probable cause statement.

From inside the home, Blankenship then allegedly shot at a police officer who was taking cover behind a Nissan Pathfinder in the driveway. Blankenship shot through the home's front living room window, according to the probable cause statement. Blankenship's shot hit the upper corner of the driver side of the Nissan's windshield. The officer fell to the ground and was able to take cover. He was not injured.

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A second officer, who was on the north side of the home across the street, was then shot at multiple times. The probable cause statement did not explicitly say the shots were from Blankenship, however this gunfire also came from inside the home. This officer's vehicle was struck on the front passenger door frame and front windshield, the document reads.

At this point, Englewood police returned fire. Blankenship exited the home and was arrested on a charge of attempted first-degree murder, according to a probable cause statement.

Police learned that Blankenship's brother, Matthew Neal Mitchell, 22, had been inside the home at the time and was shot. He died of his injuries. Mitchell was identified on Tuesday by the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office.

Police said on Monday morning that their officers had shot and killed the 22-year-old while returning Blankenship's gunfire.

The following day, July 25, Englewood detectives interviewed Blankenship.

Blankenship told police he had felt suicidal for 29 years, including the day prior, and had tried to kill himself in the past. He said he had argued with his grandmother and told her he was going to kill himself and he shot a .44 Magnum round into the wall of the home. He left the gun in the basement, according to the probable cause statement. The grandmother and his mother said they were going to call police.

Blankenship told police he went to his room, where his brother was, to be left alone. Soon afterward, he saw and heard police pull up the house and order him to come outside with his hands up. He told police he shot a handgun one time at the officer in the driveway "because he wanted the police to kill him," according to the probable cause statement.

He told police Mitchell did not shoot at officers.

Blankenship is set to be formally charged on Friday.

In a Facebook post, Englewood Police Chief Sam Watson provided a timeline of the events that led to the deadly shooting from officers, and said footage from the officers' body-worn cameras will be released as the investigation into the shooting allows.

"While we understand there are questions surrounding this incident, we want to make sure the independent investigative team has the time necessary to complete a thorough and transparent investigation," Watson said.