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Investigations Continue After 2 Officer Involved Shootings

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DENVER (CBS4) – Investigations into two different police shootings in a three hour time period in Denver on Wednesday are ongoing.

One happened in the parking lot of the Romero Funeral Home in Northwest Denver.

Police say they had been following a suspect, a 21-year-old male, for most of the day before that shooting. They finally approached him at approximately 6 p.m. near 47th and Tejon.

The suspect’s friends say he was about to go to a funeral. Police say they didn’t know that, instead they just saw a strategic chance to make an arrest.

Denver Police Chief Robert White said officers approached the suspect’s car just moments after he parked. They reportedly blocked his car in to make the arrest, but that’s when they say he began ramming police cruisers that were behind and in front of him.

White said four officers began firing, and there were about 12 shots.

WEB EXTRA: Denver Police Chief Discusses 2 Deadly Shootings In 1 Day

Police investigators say right now it appears the suspect did not have a gun, but that in this case he was using his car as a weapon.

One officer suffered minor injuries after she was hit by the suspect’s car.

The suspect in the case was wanted for two automobile-related warrants. Police say the car he had been driving all day was also stolen. His name has not been released.

The other officer-involved shooting happened near Platte River Drive and Florida. Police say an officer killed a 31-year-old man during an undercover drug deal.

Police say when officers moved in to arrest the suspect they say he pulled out a gun. That’s when uniformed officers shot the man. He later died at the hospital.

The suspect’s name hasn’t been released. Police said they suspect he had gang ties.

All of the officers involved in both shootings are on administrative leave, which is standard practice.

CBS4’s Rahel Solomon asked White during a news conference Thursday morning if he has any concerns about excessive force possibly being used by officers in either instance.

“Our responsibility is to address it, to be transparent about it and ensure the officers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” White said. “I’d tell you that 99.9 percent of the time they’re doing that.

“When something controversial happens we have a responsibility to investigate, be transparent about it and report it to the community and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

White said his department is asking anyone who may have been present when the incidents happened to give them a call.

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