Man shot, killed by Denver police near downtown was kicked off RTD bus minutes prior, police say

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 17:31:37-04

DENVER — The man shot and killed by police near downtown Denver Monday morning caused a disturbance onboard an RTD bus and was asked to leave just minutes before the fatal shooting, Denver Police Division Chief Joe Montoya said during a briefing Tuesday.

Montoya provided an updated timeline of events that led to the unidentified armed man’s shooting death at the hand of an 18-year veteran of the force at West 10th Avenue and Lincoln Street around 7:15 a.m.

Around 7 a.m., the suspect, whose identity has not been released, was onboard an RTD bus when he allegedly caused some sort of disturbance and was asked to leave, Montoya said. But before leaving the bus police said he broke out the bus’s windshield.

At that point, transit officers were notified and began tracking the suspect as he walked northbound along Lincoln Street. Throughout the process, the suspect was seen waving a gun around and fired at least two rounds in the air, Montoya said.

A transit officer confronted the suspect at West 7th Avenue and Lincoln Street and attempted to get compliance, but the suspect pulled out his weapon and continued walking northbound along Lincoln, according to police.

Moments later, a police officer armed with an AR15 rifle caught up with the armed man and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. Montoya said the suspect replied “no” and refused to drop his gun. The suspect then pointed his gun in the air, fired one round, and then began leveling the weapon toward the officer when the officer shot and killed the suspect, Montoya said.

Montoya said the officer who shot the suspect was taking several things into consideration including the foot traffic in the area and morning commuters in the area. The officer, who has not been identified, was placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Police said the suspect’s disturbing behavior on the bus was reported by fellow passengers using RTD’s app. They said the suspect never produced a handgun on the bus.

Montoya said his department his working to contact the suspect's family before they release his identity.

Monday morning’s incident caused an hours-long closure on Lincoln Street in the area. The road was reopened around 4:30 p.m.