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Police defend officers' actions in deadly northeast Denver shooting

Denver Police shooting on June 13
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 21:36:35-04

DENVER -- New witness videos show the moments before Denver police officers shot and killed a man Sunday afternoon.

The shooting happened near the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Yosemite Street in front of several witnesses.

"I saw the officers yelling at the guy, guns pointed towards him," one witness, who did not want to be identified, said Monday. "Immediately, once I recorded, that's when about seven shots were fired towards him."

Duane Manzanares

Police say 30-year-old Duane Manzanares had just fired a gun at his own car several blocks away, minutes prior to police arriving.

"The officers told the subject to put his hands on his head, and they also directed him not to reach for the handgun that was visible in his waistband," Denver Police Commander Matt Clark said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Manzanares appeared agitated and non-compliant, police say, as he interacted with officers.

"The subject discarded the empty bottle of Fireball whiskey onto the ground before dropping his right hand towards his waistband area near the firearm and also moving his left hand behind his back out of the view from officers," Clark said.

That's when three officers fired 11 rounds at Manzanares, ultimately killing him. Clark defended the officers' actions.

"Trying to hit him in the leg, trying to shoot a hand or something like that is just not feasible when you have a moving target under stress. The officers are trained to shoot at the center," Clark said.

Ava Roy, 16, and her father Masada Roy were traveling through the area when they witnessed the shooting.

"It was horrifying and it was crazy," Ava said. "Out of nowhere he gets shot. He's just standing there. And I was, like, mind-blown."

She and her father question whether the officers' multiple rounds were necessary.

"It didn't seem before the shots were fired that things were too intense to that point," Masada said.

The three officers -- including one who has previously been involved in an officer-involved shooting that the district attorney's office deemed justified -- have been placed on "modified duty assignment" as the district attorney's office investigates.

Jennifer Manzanares, Duane's sister, told Denver7 he was visiting Denver from Pueblo to get his eight-year-old son looked at by doctors. She says his son was diagnosed with leukemia hours before the shooting, which is likely what upset him.

A candlelight vigil is being held near the Pueblo Police Department headquarters Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m.