DA clears Thornton officers in April shooting

Staff reports
Posted 9/10/21

BRIGHTON -- The 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office will not file charges against Thornton police officers who were involved in an April shooting.

Officers shot Raymond Quintana.

"Based on …

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DA clears Thornton officers in April shooting

Posted

BRIGHTON -- The 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office will not file charges against Thornton police officers who were involved in an April shooting.

Officers shot Raymond Quintana after a reported trespass, a chase and a resulting car crash. DA Brian Mason said in a statement. The suspect also; was identified as being part of a burglary.

"Based on the evidence presented and the applicable Colorado law, there is no reasonable likelihood of success of proving the elements of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt as it relates to the law enforcement officers involved in this incident," according to a letter Mason sent to  Thornton's police chief, Terrence Gordon.

The incident began around 8:30 a.m. after police received a report of a trespass in the 9700 block of Welby Road. A security guard who works at thme complex told police there had been a series of coin thefts from the laundry room. Eventually, authorities were able to identify a suspect connected with the thefts. At the time, he was carrying a backpack and wore a  black, hooded swearshirt with the hood pulled up over his head.

"J.J. (the security guard) confronted the man about breaking into the laundry machines," the DA's letter read. "The suspect pulled out a black handgun and pointed it at J.J.'s face. J.J. told the officers hewas in fear for his life and thought the suspect was going to kill him."

The security guard swatted the gun away and ordered the suspect to leave. Instead, the suspect pointed the gun at the guard and ran from the laundry room. The DA"s letter said as officers were talking with witnesses, Officer Zac Crowe saw a man who appeared to match the description of the suspect.

"Officer Crowe approached the suspect and instructed him to keep his hands out of his pockets," the letter said. "The suspect refused to comply and ran away. Officer Crowe chased him into a parking lot. The suspect turned around and pointed a gun at Officer Crowe. The suspect yelled, 'Better back off, fucker! Officer Crowe saw the gun pointed at him and took cover between vehicles parked in the lot to avoid being shot.

"Officer Crowe later explained, “I thought he was gonna shoot me and, being at the distance, and me running, it, I was, I was honestly fear, in fear
for my life just because the distance and at that point, he had his gun out," the letter continued. "I did not have my gun out. And I was in, in the wide open.”

The suspect got into a car and left the parking lot, which prompted a pursuit. The chase ended when the suspect crashed into a tree near East 115th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Two officers ordered the suspect out of his car. He eventually did by standing on the hood. Both officers saw the suspect holding the handgun in his right hand.

Two officers fired a total of six shots at the suspect, according to the DA's letter. The shots apparently missed the suspect; he continued on over the fence. A foot chase began, and the suspect continued to run with the gun in his hand, thme letter said.

"The homeowner of a residence nearby called 911 to report that the suspect entered her home and said that he was injured and needed help," the letter said. "He pointed a gun at her and demanded her car and car keys. She refused and the suspect eventually ran away."

Officers observed damage and evidence of broken entry to a nearby residence. Some of the stolen items included keys to a Jeep, which was stolen from the garage and later recovered but with no sign of the suspect. Investigators later linked Quintana to this burglary as well as incident in Denver in which Quintana  crashed into a Denver police car.

Five days later, officers found Quintana in a Westminster apartment. He took his own life after several hours of negotations, according to the DA's letter.

The 17th Judicial Critical Incident Response team was in charge of the investigation. Westminster police detective Steve Sanders and Adams County sheriff's detective Dylan Lussier were the lead investigators. They presented their findings to DA Brian  Mason in June. The work included law enforcement reports, audio and video recorded interviews and photographs.

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