Ryan Ronquillo Shooting Deemed Justified, But Family Says Police Murdered Him
Last month, we told you about the police killing at a Denver funeral home of Ryan Ronquillo, a suspected car thief who was slated to attend the viewing of a deceased friend.
A family photo of Ryan Ronquillo. Additional images, plus a video and more below.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has now released a decision letter -- see it below -- declaring the shoot justified. This stands in stark contrast to the reaction from attendees at a weekend fundraiser and impromptu march, including Ronquillo's sister, who can be seen on a video shared here saying the police murdered her brother and declaring the cops to be "fucking Nazis."
The decision letter includes photos from the scene. We've included a number of them below, featuring DA's office text.
On July 2, according to the document, investigators with the Safe Streets Task Force were conducting fugitive apprehension operations when they were asked to aid in locating and apprehending Ronquillo, who is said to have been wanted for a June 29 domestic violence episode. In addition, he's described as an "active car thief who stole 'Hondas, Acuras and Subarus.'"
Courtesy of Denver District Attorney's Office Decision letter: "The stolen car Ronquillo was driving is seen in the center of this photo; Det. Ingersoll was dirving the black SUV on the left side of the photo; Sgt. Bell was driving the silver SUV seen on the right side of the photo."
At around 3 p.m., task forcers received information that Ronquillo was in an area west of I-25 in the I-70 corridor, the letter continues -- and at about 5 p.m., they narrowed the search down to an area near the intersection of 37th Avenue and Osage Street. An undercover officer saw him "sitting in a stolen black Honda stopped or parked at that location."
The plan was to apprehend Ronquillo there -- but before officers could do so, he drove off. He allegedly back-tracked at least once before pulling into a parking lot at 4750 Tejon Street.
A footnote points out that the lot belonged to Romero's Family Funeral Home and a service was going on at the time.
At that point, a detective entered the parking lot from the south, while a sergeant driving a silver Lexus SUV drove in from the north, activating his emergency lights as the detective made "bumper contact" with Ronquillo's Honda before dismounting and walking to the car's passenger side. But before the detective could grab him, Ronquillo is said to have shifted the Honda into reserve and zoomed away at "a high rate of speed."
Courtesy of Denver District Attorney's Office Decision letter: "The raised earthen berm and sidewalk over which Ronquillo first backed and then drove forward are depicted in this photo. The scuff marks left by the the vehicle are clearly seen. The Jeep parked at the curb was one of the vehicles hit by Ronquillo."
The sergeant was grazed by Ronquillo's car, the report states. Then the Honda "backed over a small earthen berm, across the sidewalk and into an unmarked car driven by Detective Toni Trujillo, which was stopped in the middle of the street."
The first detective was now in front of the Honda, and if it moved forward, he believed it would strike him. At that point, he pulled his handgun as other shots rang out. Shots were fired by Trujillo, dressed in plain clothes, as well as uniformed gang unit officers Brian Marshall, Daniel White and Jeffrey DiManna. Ronquillo died as a result of the fusillade.
Courtesy of Denver District Attorney's Office Decision letter: "The keyless ignition port can be seen in this photo."
In DiManna's account, he said he'd issued "loud verbal commands-- you know, 'Shut off the car! Shut off the car!' And he's still revving the engine, revving the engine. And he slams it into drive, uh, Detective Trujillo was right next to me and we were both, poten.... We were both, coulda been in the line of the vehicle.... From where we were standing we were both put in, uh, the line of the vehicle. So, in fear for my safety -- in fear for Detective Trujillo's life, uh, I heard one of her roun.... I heard her fire one round and I
shortly fired right after her."
The decision letter references surveillance footage of the incident and asserts that "the statements of the witnesses are largely corroborative of those provided by the involved and witness officers." As such, Morrisey's conclusion is particularly harsh toward Ronquillo. An excerpt:
Courtesy of Denver District Attorney's Office Decision letter: "Photos depicting Det. Trujillo's undercover police car after the collision."
This incident is a direct result of choices made by Ronquillo: He first chose to steal a car. He then chose to flee despite almost no viable options -- backing up and hitting two private cars, one occupied by several members of a family, then running into a police car. He then chose to drive forward toward armed law enforcement officers who had given him repeated commands to stop and repeated opportunities to surrender. As noted previously, the violence of his actions can be seen in the surveillance video; that fact that no civilians and only one officer was injured is remarkable."Based on the facts presented here, each officer's individual decision to use the degree of force he or she used was objectively reasonable and, accordingly, must be considered justifiable under Colorado law," Morrissey adds. "Accordingly, I will not file criminal charges against the officers involved in this incident."
This result incensed many police critics, as well as Ronquillo's family.
Continue for more about the Ryan Ronquillo shooting, including additional photos, a video and an original document.