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Authorities ID Denver homicide suspect fatally shot by police near Colorado Mills Mall

Posted at 8:01 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 22:01:17-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Authorities identified Monday the homicide suspect killed in an early morning Fourth of July police shooting near the Colorado Mills Mall.

The man, identified as 34-year-old Leonel Mendez, of Denver, was suspect in the strangulation death of 54-year-old Josefina Mendez-Pantoya, whose body was found the day before in a Denver home in the 4700 block of Pearl Street.

Hours after the Pearl Street murder, Denver police identified Mendez as a suspect and located him driving toward Lakewood around 3:45 a.m. Thursday, which began a pursuit that ended in a crash in the intersection of Denver West Colorado Mills Parkway and Cole Boulevard.

The suspect was shot after Denver police say he opened fire at them during a short foot pursuit following the crash. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said one of his deputies was also involved in the shooting, though he did not specify how.

No officers were injured. Mendez was transported to the hospital, where he died.