Teen identified after fatal officer shooting in Westminster; witnesses report hearing 9 shots

Posted at 1:14 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 17:45:45-04

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Police shot an 18-year-old who they suspected of stealing a vehicle after a chase in Westminster on Tuesday afternoon. 

Officers belonging to three separate agencies were tracking a stolen vehicle, police confirmed hours after the situation had ended. 

On Wednesday, police identified the 18-year-old suspect as Alexander Meltz. Police said they chased Meltz just before 1 p.m., in an allegedly stolen vehicle. When they stopped him, Colorado State Patrol said he pointed a weapon at police officers, leading police to fire shots, killing the man. 

Although a bicycle and basketball were seen next to the Metlz's body, police said they belonged to a witness who ran from the scene and didn't have time to collect their belongings. 

Witnesses reported hearing nine or 10 shots fired in the park near Cotton Creek Elementary School at 112th and Stuart in Westminster.

Robert Rapplean, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was walking his dog when he heard the shots. He said after shots were fired, he heard officers yell "Put the gun down!"

Rapplean said he eventually saw three officers standing around a handcuffed body, with a fourth officer nearby in a police cruiser. Officers distanced themselves from the body when the fourth officer approached the group again, Rapplean said. 

According to police, those officers were part of the Metro Auto Theft Task Force and belonged to Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and two from Colorado State Patrol. 

The task force is comprised of officers from a host of agencies, and focuses on stolen vehicles in the metro area of Denver. 

Police didn't have further answers, saying a comprehensive investigation would need to take place before they release more. 

Nearby Cotton Creek Elementary School, which entered lockout after the shooting, allowed parents to pick up their children in person with a valid ID. 

Denver7 will continue to follow this developing story. This story has been updated to reflect the name of the suspect, identified a day after the shooting. 


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