Denver police officers not charged after fatally shooting armed man in Broomfield

The Denver police officers who in September 2022 shot and killed an armed man who had just injured an officer and taken another man hostage were cleared of wrongdoing, the Broomfield County District Attorney said in a decision letter.

Investigators were searching for Anthony Lainez on Sept. 29, 2022, in connection to a Denver homicide and tracked him to a Broomfield residence, where surveillance footage saw Lainez and a woman leave the residence and enter a car. Broomfield officers moved in with emergency lights on, but Lainez, who was driving the vehicle, eluded the officers, who did not pursue him.

Lainez drove the vehicle “recklessly” on Sheridan Boulevard, the decision letter stated, and he lost control and crashed into another vehicle at the intersection of Midway Boulevard and Sheridan Boulevard.

Lainez and the woman exited the car and ran to a Toyota Corolla parked in traffic nearby. Lainez got into the passenger side of the car and the woman in the backseat.

“Lainez pressed a handgun into the driver’s ribs and said, ‘Go,’ the decision letter stated. The driver tried to take the keys out of the car’s ignition, but Lainez pulled him back into the car.

The Denver Police Department Fugitive Unit responded to the scene, and the first detective on scene saw Lainez holding onto the driver of the other car while the driver was screaming and trying to get away.

“Lainez appeared to hold the victim as a shield,” the letter stated.

A second Denver detective arrived soon after and attempted to break open the car’s front windshield with his rifle, but Lainez drew a handgun and fired at that officer, hitting him in the neck. That officer fired one round before falling to the ground.

As Lainez fired at the other officer, the first officer pulled the man being held by Lainez away from the car and fired at Lainez, the letter stated.

“Lainez got out of the driver’s door while holding the gun and advanced on (the officer),” the letter stated. “(The officer) fired his gun at Lainez several more times, striking him and causing him to fall to the ground.”

A third officer arrived at the scene shortly after this.

“(The third officer) saw Lainez on the ground reaching for the gun and yelled, ‘Don’t grab the gun,’” the letter stated. “Lainez ignored the command and reached for the handgun. (The third officer) fired his handgun at Lainez until he stopped moving and was no longer a threat.”

Lainez died at the scene, the injured officer was treated, and the woman who was with Lainez was taken into custody.

Lainez fired two rounds from his handgun, and additional firearms, firearm evidence, a large volume of controlled substances and $1,000 in cash were located inside the Corolla.

The injured officer fired one round, the first officer fired nine rounds and the third officer fired six rounds.

“Denver Police Detectives acted with courage and valor in their effort to save lives and stop Lainez from kidnapping an innocent victim,” the letter stated. “All three Denver Detectives acted with courage and heroism, and the actions of all three likely saved lives that day.”

The investigation found that the officers were justified in their use of force against Lainez, and no evidence supports filing charges.

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