Thornton police have released a video showing the moments before an officer shot a man walking on Interstate 25 last fall...
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Thornton police have released a video showing the moments before an officer shot a man on Interstate 25 last fall. The video shows several officers responded to 911 calls that the man, later identified as Darylray Lopez, 29, of Denver, was walking on the highway, causing cars to swerve.
The video from the Sept. 5, 2022, incident shows an officer approaching Lopez, whose face is blurred out, on the opposite side of the concrete barrier in the middle of the highway that divides traffic.
"Do you need help?" the officer asks. "Do you need an ambulance?"
The man backs away from the barrier and then turns toward a second officer on the other side of the barrier. The video shows the man approaching with what the officer believes to be a weapon.
"Put it down!" the officer yells. "Put it down, now! Put the knife down!"
The man raises his arms and continues to approach the officer who shoots three times at the man.
The department released the footage, showing three officers' perspectives, as part of a recorded briefing on You Tube on Jan. 12. The video includes an explanation from the department that the case remains under investigation. Police Officer Arthur Brown was placed on leave after the shooting.
Officer Jesus Mendez, a public information officer, said in the video that the case is being investigated by the 17th Judicial District.
"Our understanding of this incident may change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed and reviewed, " Mendez said. "We do not draw any conclusions about whether officers acted consistent with our policies or the law until our investigation is complete."
In an incident report previously obtained by Colorado Community Media, Brown said the suspect was about 15 feet away from him “when he began to charge.”
“Officer Brown said after the male took two steps he thought, 'I have to react now, otherwise this guy going to kill me,'” according to the report.
In a statement, witness Daniel Coughlin said he saw the man charge at the officers but didn’t see anything in his hands.
The report also said Amber Cisneros, Lopez’s stepmother, indicated Lopez was acting “a little paranoid” the morning of the shooting.
“Amber said that he had never (officially) been diagnosed with any mental disabilities, but that he had PTSD for being in prison for 10 years,” the report reads.
However, the report also says he had a prescription for Gabapentin. According to the National Library of Medicine, Gabapentin treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.
Cisneros also said Lopez had been released from prison about a year before the incident and was doing well, but had recently lost his job and was looking for another.
Mental health units have been deployed along the Front Range in hopes of deescalating deadly encounters with police officers. Joseph Walker, a spokesperson for Thornton police, said the department doesn’t have a mental health co-responder program, but one is in the works.
Though the police report does not include a knife as recovered evidence, Walker said one of the agencies within the judicial district’s Critical Response Team, which is serving as the lead investigator, may include details about the reported knife within their report.
Christopher Hopper, a spokesperson for the district, said the agency has yet to release a report.
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