James Davies, Lakewood police friendly fire victim: Details on funeral, two suspects' release
Update: Funeral plans have been announced in regard to James Davies, the Lakewood Police officer killed by friendly fire during an incident on Friday. He'll be laid to rest on Thursday; get details below. In the meantime, only one of the three people taken into custody prior to the tragic incident was actually arrested -- and charges have not yet been officially filed against him.
Big photos below.
The Lakewood Police Department's account of what happened goes like this:
Shortly before 2 a.m. this past Friday, LPD officers were in the area of 19th Avenue and Eaton Street on a prowler report when they heard shots being fired. Shortly thereafter, the cops saw a man later identified as Joe Anthony Ruiz, 37, firing a weapon from the front porch of his house, at 1940 Fenton.
At that point, Ruiz and two other males were taken into custody. Meanwhile, additional agents responded and set up a perimeter around the house prior to reentering the residence to check for additional occupants. During this time, the LPD says, Davies was shot -- and the subsequent investigation determined that he'd been struck by a bullet fired "by another Lakewood agent in a case of what would appear to be mistaken identity."
The LPD release doesn't name the officer who accidentally killed Davies, but news agencies have identified him as Officer Devaney Braley. As for what led to the tragic error, the Denver Post obtained archived radio transmissions revealing that Braley, on the other side of a six-foot fence from Davies, thought the officer was an armed suspect.
A tribute to James Davies on the website of Colorado Christian University, where he helped keep numerous campus events safe.
"He's on the north side of the fence, Sarge," the transmission transcript reads. "You got to move people. He's north side of the fence that runs between us and the apartment building. Hispanic male. Shaved head. Black semi-auto."
Braley is said to have issued the order, "Drop your weapon." Davies did not, presumably because he thought Braley was talking to someone else. Shortly thereafter, Braley fired.
Davies was 35 at the time of his death, with two young children. He started working at the Lakewood department in April 2006 and was assigned to the Special Enforcement Team, with a focus on tracking sex offenders.
Days later, the LPD released the moniker and mug shot of Ruiz, who had a number of priors on his record, including assault-related arrests in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999. As such, he's being held on suspicion of weapon possession by a previous offender, plus tampering with physical evidence -- both class six felonies. At this writing, he has yet to be officially charged.
The funeral for Davies will get underway at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Denver First Church of the Nazarene, 3800 East Hampden Avenue in Englewood. The procession following the services will leave the church and proceed westbound on Hampden to Wadsworth, then northbound to Alameda, westbound to Kipling, northbound to West 6th Avenue, westbound to Indiana Street and southbound on Indiana to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Expect a big turnout of police from throughout the metro area and the state to bid farewell to one of their own.
Look below to see a larger photo of Davies, as well as Ruiz's booking photo. That's followed by our previous coverage.
Continue to read our previous coverage, including photos and videos.
Joe Anthony Ruiz.