DENVER (CBS4) – No criminal charges will be filed in the deadly shooting at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in January, Denver authorities said on Tuesday.
Derrick Duran, a Colorado corrections officer who is a member of the motorcycle club The Iron Order, allegedly fired his gun during the fight with The Mongols motorcycle club inside the National Western Stock Show Complex. The groups blame each other for instigating the violence.
Victor Mendoza, 46, was shot and killed during the Jan. 30 fight in which three others were shot and two others were stabbed.
“Well, I heard, like, a bang! or a bam! Something like that,” said attorney Wade Eldridge who was nearby when the shooting happened. “In retrospect it was a gunshot.”
Investigators say Duran fired a shot first, injuring one person. Within a minute or so of that shot, Mendoza fired at Duran, grazing Duran’s torso and hitting another man behind Duran. Duran immediately fired a shot at Mendoza, killing him.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office determined after a legal review that no charges will be filed and there is no likelihood of a conviction due to the self-defense claim of Duran.
“He was in danger and feared for his life, he was in fear for the lives of other individuals that were being assaulted and fired one round,” said Denver Police Cmdr. Ron Saunier.
The investigation was also hampered because only one side would talk, according to Saunier.
“When you have a victim who doesn’t want to cooperate, a victim of a gunshot, you can’t move forward with the case, so that plays a big role into the first shot that was fired because we have a victim who is no longer willing to say anything,” Saunier said during a news conference to discuss the development Tuesday morning.
The Iron Order is often associated with law enforcement officers, but police say no special treatment was given in the case even though the outcome of the investigation is no charges.
An attorney for The Mongols who had previously spoken with CBS4 about the shooting declined to comment on the decision.
Duran returned to full duty with the Colorado Department of Corrections as of April 8.