LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Lakewood police are struggling to come to grips with the death of a veteran of their force.
James Davies, 35, was killed early Friday morning at an active crime scene when a fellow officer fired a round and accidentally killed him. The two officers were only feet away from each other at the time but were separated by a fence.
“I don’t know of any ingredient that I could put into this story that would make it any more tragic,” Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis said Friday afternoon.
It was the first time in the Lakewood Police Department’s 43 year history that an officer was killed in the line of duty.
“You can imagine the anguish the other officer is going through at this time,” Davis said. “The other officer is really having a difficult time at this point.”
The shooting happened at about 2 a.m. outside a home near the intersection of 20th and Fenton, in a central area of the city near the border with Edgewater. Three suspects are in custody after the incident, which involved multiple shots fired. None of those people has been formally arrested.
“Apparently they are being interviewed but a formal arrest has not taken place,” Davis said.
No one else was hurt besides Davies.
Davies has a wife and two young children. He was a member of Lakewood police’s Special Enforcement Team and was in uniform at the time of the “friendly fire” incident.
The exact details of what happened are still under investigation, but Davis recapped it with the following comments in an afternoon news conference:
“Our officers were in the area on an unrelated call and they heard shots being fired. They didn’t know where they were coming from or which house and they started driving the streets. One of our officers actually saw someone come out on the front porch of this residence and fire a couple rounds off in the air.
“Obviously that led our officers to where this was coming from. Many more officers converged on that house. We entered the house, contacted the three people (involved), took them into custody, but we backed out of the house to set up a perimeter not knowing if we had more people inside that house.
“At that time we were made aware of somewhat vicious dogs inside the house so we were making arrangements to take care of that and be able to deal with that as we entered the house a second time.
“Meanwhile you’ve got many officers around the house taking positions at the back of the house, in neighboring yards, and apparently officer Davies was in one yard … and there were other officers on the other sides of the fence. And he was seen and mistaken for an assailant with a gun.
“It’s my understanding that there was some quick (yells made by the officer who killed Davies or by one of the officers he was with). Officer Davies I’m sure was confused and being a police officer in uniform he probably didn’t think he was the one addressed. And then the shots were fired.”
The Lakewood Police Department has set up an account to help Officer James Davies’ family. To donate, contact the Foothills Credit Union located at 7990 W. Alameda Ave. Call (720) 962-8200 or visit https://www.foothills-cu.com for more information. You can also make a donation online with the City of Lakewood.