Videos: Denver police gun down knife-wielding man who asked, "Do you want to die?"

Categories: News

officer.involved.shooting.29th.downing.205x205.jpg
Big photos, videos below.
At this writing, we don't know the identity of a man gunned down by police near 29th and Downing yesterday.

But we have lots of information about what witnesses describe as dangerously unstable behavior and wild threats made considerably more frightening by the presence of a knife.

Denver police say they tried to subdue the man without killing him, but things didn't go down that way. Photos, videos and details below.

The Denver Police Department first alerted the populace to the situation via the following tweet, sent out at midday yesterday:

The DPD subsequently shared the following photo from the scene....

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...and a follow-up note about the man's fate:

What preceded this pronouncement? "As I'm crossing the street, an older gentleman runs at me with a knife in his hand saying, 'Do you want to die? I'm going to kill you,'" witness Santiago Martinez told 7News. "I'm backing up going, 'Whoa.'"

At that point, Martinez continued, "Another guy in a Jeep sees that and he gets out of his car and then the guy goes after him" -- and then he did likewise with a woman crossing the street.

Martinez and the man from the Jeep reportedly responded by running after the man, who then pointed his knife at them and started "saying a bunch of weird remarks and just yelling and stuff," Martinez added.

Police summoned by multiple 911 calls arrived shortly thereafter and ordered the man to put down the knife, but he didn't comply -- in a big way. Martinez says he actually ran at one of the officers with the knife thrust out.

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Denver Police Chief Robert White speaking to the media after the shooting.
Denver Police Chief Robert White told the media at a subsequent news conference from the scene that officers attempted to subdue the man using non-lethal force, including a "gas gun," a "pepper gun" and a Taser. None of these weapons had an effect on him, however -- so he was shot. He was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, but soon perished.

Look below to see Chief White's complete remarks, followed by reports from 9News and 7News.

More from our Follow That Story archive circa July: "Police release sketch of LoDo shooting suspect."

My Voice Nation Help
23 comments
Steven M Palmer
Steven M Palmer

And that is why he got shot. Cops don't fool around and if you provoke them they will used deadly force.

Felicia McBain
Felicia McBain

Nothing wrong with a little population control...in fact, we need more of it.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

A slew of trained professionals, and they can't figure out how to arrest a single man bearing a knife without killing him. I question their dedication to de-escalation of violence.

Nate Bennett
Nate Bennett

why don't police use tranquilizer guns? we can take down a rhino or an elephant but we have to kill a human?

Leeman Markee
Leeman Markee

DID would like to remind you: never bring a knife to a gunfight.

Chad OfThe Valley
Chad OfThe Valley

Uhhh, hate to say it, but if you're waving around a knife at the police asking "Do you want to die?", you're kind of asking for it. Especially given the DPD's history of dealing with armed suspects...Maybe this guy was just going for "Death By Cop"?

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

Think I'll take a cab today.

AnGie Lovato
AnGie Lovato

no I don't think they should of shot him. yah if he was waving a knife around why couldn't all them officers take him down aren't they trained for that sort of situation? were they afraid of the knife or what were they afraid of and how many officers were out there? really? my opinion a lot of Denver officers will only beat a man if they were drunk or they were a teenager in an alley or if there were no witnesses and again they should not have killed him anyone of them officers could of taken him down without killing him if they were trained right!!

Steven M Palmer
Steven M Palmer

Don't know but when you fire a weapon, you DO NOT fire to wound or incapacitate. You shoot to kill. A wounded suspect can still return fire if so armed. Save that " shoot him in the leg/arm" crap for the movies...

Chad Roth
Chad Roth

They have many non-lethal ways of incapacitating people. Not sure if he was putting other civilians in harms way, though.

Jason Hitchcock
Jason Hitchcock

since he's dead obviously no, i am sure if they shot him in the knee or leg period he would have dropped that knife and been very easy to take control of. But i dont know the whole situation so...

Che Harness
Che Harness

They'll kill each other for not responding to demands quickly enough. So I say No.

brendac_420
brendac_420

I find it odd 3, 4 people encountered this man AND were NOT EVEN HURT-so they were threatened by an obviously mentally unstable man. However, as the POLICY of the DPD seems to be to always slaughter the "suspect" 1st, figure out the situation AFTER said suspect is dead, here is another person tried & convicted at the hands of our fine keystone killa kops! (No flack from anybody saying Oh he was dangerous blah blah blah-enough people say he was just a crazyman running around, charging but NEVER actually approaching anybody to harm them-hmm, could this be a person that needs help possibly, not death?)

Mental illness/health issues are not important or cared about in our society. It's sad. I would hope if I had a psychotic break or mental breakdown, I would be helped and not killed.

Aaron LeForce
Aaron LeForce

the man is dead, so I am gonna say no...they didn't do all they could. aren't cops taught to shoot in the shoulder not shoot to kill? ...not that the guy wasn't asking for it.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Nate Bennett Interesting question, Nate. Thanks for posting.

MMJClassifieds.org
MMJClassifieds.org

@Angie Lovato 

They pepper sprayed and tazed him, which police around the country seem overly willing to do for far less dangerous situations than charging at them with a knife.

Pretty sure that would be a justified shooting.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Angie Lovato Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Angie. We're going to make your post an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

fognl7
fognl7

In this case the suspect had a knife - not a gun. I don't see how return fire would have been a concern.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Steven M Palmer Strong point, Steven. Thanks for posting.

MMJClassifieds.org
MMJClassifieds.org

@Aaron LeForce    No, you are taught to shoot center mass.   You watch too much TV.

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