Denver police officers cleared in fatal shooting of man who stole police car, AR-15

Three Denver Police Department officers were justified in shooting and killing a man in October 2019 who stole a department vehicle and pointed a stolen AR-15 rifle at police as they chased him.

Adam Martinez, 36, stole a Denver patrol officer’s car after she responded to a report of a carjacking at a car wash. The officer had left her AR-15 in the front seat and her keys in the ignition as she and a second officer tried to apprehend Martinez. But Martinez got to her car and drove away, according to a letter from Denver District Attorney Beth McCann that cleared the officers of criminal wrongdoing.

Martinez then led police on a car chase along 6th Avenue, Federal Boulevard and 8th Avenue as he waved the rifle out the car window. Officers forced his car to crash on West 8th Avenue under an Interstate 25 overpass. After the stolen police car stopped, Martinez pointed the AR-15 at the officers who had chased him, including an officer who was trapped in his car next to the one Martinez had stolen, the letter said.

Denver officers Ismael Lopez, Vincent Vasquez and John Allred opened fire, hitting Martinez with 15 bullets.

McCann will discuss her decision on the shooting at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 10 in an online forum. The public may participate here: https://bit.ly/33hkigV.

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