DENVER (AP) – A police officer was shot and killed Friday by another officer after several agencies responded to a report of shots fired at a home in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, authorities said.
James Davies, 35, was in full uniform when he was killed, police spokesman Steve Davis said.
Davies was in the backyard of a home when an officer behind a fence in another yard saw Davies, mistook him for an armed suspect and issued unspecified commands to the person, Davis said.
Davies was shot after he failed to respond, he said.
“Officer Davies, being in uniform, didn’t think he was the one being addressed,” Davis said. “Everyone seems to think that Officer Davies thought that the other officer was in contact with someone else.”
Davies was the first member of the Lakewood Police Department to be killed in the line of duty since it was founded in 1969. He leaves behind a wife and two young children.
“The investigation has taken quite a tragic turn,” Davis said earlier in the day. “The words heartbreak and shock are just not adequate when you lose one of your own.”
Davis said there was a lot of confusion when officers first responded and numerous shots were fired. Multiple agencies responded and officers were warned to avoid crossfire, according to police radio recordings archived by RadioReference.com.
Davis said three men were taken into custody and were outside the home when more gunfire erupted and Davies was killed.
The name of the officer who shot Davies has not been released.
“I don’t know of any ingredient that I can put into this story to make it more tragic than it is,” Davis said.
A team is investigating the shooting and the Jefferson County district attorney’s office will decide whether criminal charges are appropriate.
Along with Lakewood police, at least four other agencies responded to the initial report, including officers from Denver, Edgewater and Arvada, and deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Some of the officers were in the area investigating a complaint of a prowler.
Davis said handguns were recovered from the home, where several pit bulls complicated the situation.
Associated Press writer P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.
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