By Michael Abeyta

(CBS4) – The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railyard near the National Western Complex in Denver is close to a lot of camps set up by persons experiencing homelessness. A worker who spoke off the record said they also have a problem with people stealing materials off their property.

BNSF Railroad Guard Involved In Fatal Shooting Near National Western Complex

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Perhaps that’s why they hired their own police officer to patrol the yard.

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“A certified police officer, but not a Denver police officer,” says Denver Police Division Chief Ron Thomas. He says the property is considered jurisdiction of the police hired by the BNSF railway. “Because this is a railroad this from a law enforcement standpoint is Burlington Northern Santa Fe property.”

On Saturday morning, one of those BNSF officers confronted a trespasser and found out it wasn’t his first brush with the law. Division Chief Thomas explained, “As we understand it, the officer ran a clearance on this individual and identified that he had a felony warrant.”

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The man the pulled out a knife and stabbed the officer multiple times. The officer drew his weapon and shot the man, killing him.

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Colorado State Patrol was monitoring the radio channel used by the BNSF police at the time and heard the incident as it unfolded. They were able to respond first to help the BNSF officer.

“It was critical that those officers were able to monitor on their radio channel that there was something going on here so that they could not only respond quickly themselves but also notify us so that we could hasten our response as well,” said Chief Thomas.

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The BNSF officer was taken to the hospital where his condition is critical but stable. Now, Denver police is investigating the incident as an officer-involved shooting.

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“The ultimate law enforcement agency in Denver is the Denver Police Department,” said Thomas, “Which is why we are taking over the investigation.”

Michael Abeyta