Witness Says Officer Who Was Shot Likely Saved Some Lives
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – One of two officers wounded Saturday in a shootout between Lakewood police and a reportedly suicidal man has been released from the hospital.
Officer Jonathan Key is back at home, according to Steve Davis with Lakewood police. Officer Kimberly Collins remains hospitalized in stable condition.
On Monday morning the suspect, a 54-year-old man, remained hospitalized. Police said his identity will be released once he’s out of the hospital and formally arrested, but family members told CBS4 that man is Gordon Moench.
The shootout happened at approximately 10 p.m. on Saturday night at 9740 West Jewell Place, near West Jewell Avenue and South Kipling Street.
The suspect’s stepson said the incident started when he confronted Moench, his stepfather, about yelling at his mother. At some point the mother left their home and told Moench she might call police. Moench allegedly responded that if she did that there would be a confrontation.
“It just all escalated too quickly. I think he just snapped,” said Peyton Jackson, a family friend who is staying at the house.
Police said the woman did call 911 and that the suspect was outside when officers arrived at the home. Key and Collins arrived at the home separately but were met with gunfire from the suspect. Both were wearing bullet-proof vests and were shot.
Moench said his stepfather fired a 44 caliber handgun at the officers and at one point barricaded himself in his neighbor’s pickup truck.
A third officer arrived and was able to shoot the suspect without being injured.
One neighbor said there were teenagers outside near the home right before the shots rang out, and that at least one of the officers instructed them to get away.
“(The female officer) ran up and intervened with the girls and sent them on their way, and that moment is when she was shot, is my understanding,” neighbor Seth Gatewood said. “So she actually very likely saved some young ladies lives.”
Gatewood called Collins a “hero” and wanted her to know that her actions didn’t go unnoticed.
Jackson told CBS4 the suspect’s wife is devastated by what happened.
“It was like ‘Are you really going to do that? You’re going to harm two innocent cops that were going to come check on you?’ But I really feel bad for his mom, she’s really depressed,” said Jackson.
Those who know the suspect say they believe the officer-involved shooting was an attempt to commit suicide.
“He said to his wife, if I can’t have a relationship with you, there’s no need to live,” Jackson said.
Several neighbors CBS4 spoke with were shocked by the weekend’s event.
“That’s insane,” Sommer Baier said. “Our neighborhood is super quiet. We have a middle school right next to us. It’s a very quiet neighborhood. That’s one of the reasons we chose to live here.”