THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4)– Witnesses say police officers with Denver and Thornton fired more than a dozen shots when a man rammed into two police cruisers after a chase that took them through two cities.
Wesley Maldonado was shot and killed by officers after he rammed his SUV into two police cruisers, seemingly on purpose.
It began when officers from Thornton were called about 11:30 p.m. Thursday to an apartment in the 300 block of E. 88th Avenue for a possible domestic violence incident where a gun had been fired.
As officers arrived at the residence they watched Maldonado, 35, drive away. The officers tried to stop him but he kept driving. Witnesses said Maldonado fired a gun while driving on 88th Avenue.
“They were popping shots off but when he was driving by us he was firing a couple of rounds out, a couple of cars had to get off the road and swerve out of the way just to avoid him,” said witness Anthony Casillas.
That’s when the chase began which continued into Denver. Maldonado continued to keep police officers at bay until he drove back to the apartment complex where it all started.
“It appears the chase continued based on the violent nature and that’s why it lasted so long,” said Thornton Police Sgt. Matt Kandt.
That’s when officers say Maldonado crashed into two police cruisers and officers fired back.
“End of the chase they were coming around the building, I saw them coming around and one of the cruisers hit the truck,” said witness Melissa Hedrick.
“This whole area was filled with nothing but Denver P.D. and Thornton P.D.,” said witness D’Angelo Jones.
“Then all of a sudden there’s an officer standing right at the passenger window and shot his gun five times,” said Hedrick.
Another officer stood on the hood of Maldonado’s SUV.
“He just unloaded his 12 gauge. You just heard these big shots, it was, ‘Boom, boom’ it was just gunshots, loud popping everywhere,” said Jones.
Police said they opened fire after Maldonado fired a gun at them. They said Maldonado has a long criminal history involving weapons and drug possession.
A man who knew Maldonado told CBS4’s Howard Nathan that before police were initially called, Maldonado shot at a man inside a woman’s apartment. That woman is the mother to Maldonado’s daughter. She was found sobbing outside the apartment where Maldonado was shot and killed.