DENVER (CBS4) – Officers who shot and fatally wounded a man last fall who stole a Denver police cruiser and pointed an AR-15 rifle out the window have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced her decision regarding the three Denver police officers on Monday, saying the shooting was legally justified.

The fatal shooting happened on Oct. 21 on West 8th Avenue near where it runs under Interstate 25. Police first responded to a car wash at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. Adam Martinez had allegedly tried to carjack someone there with a knife but was unsuccessful, and officers quickly spotted him and ran after him.

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A surveillance image shows the man police say was Adam Martinez trying to carjack someone.

A surveillance image shows the man police say was Adam Martinez trying to carjack someone. (credit: Denver DA)

The suspect then circled back, got inside an officer’s vehicle and drove away. McCann said on Monday that the police cruiser had an AR-15 rifle in the passenger sear.

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“Martinez then drove the car in heavy traffic on 6th Avenue, Federal Boulevard and 8th Avenue while holding the police officer’s rifle out the window of the car and periodically waving it around, at one time, pointing it at officers who were directing traffic. Officers ultimately deployed a PIT maneuver to stop Martinez who responded by pointing the AR-15 at officers,” she said in a prepared statement.

Copter4 flies over the scene of a shooting involving Denver Police near 8th Avenue and Zuni Street. (credit: CBS)

After executing the PIT maneuver, the officers shot and killed Martinez.

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McCann’s report indicates the AR-15 had been taken out of safety mode and that “Martinez made the rifle ready to fire.” It also states that Martinez was under the influence of methamphetamine, amphetamine and alcohol at the time he was killed.

Jesse Sarles