DENVER (CBS4) – The man shot and killed by Denver police officers near West High School last week had an Airsoft gun that was a replica of a Glock handgun, investigators said Wednesday. The man who was shot was later identified as Antonio Black Bear, 41.
The shooting happened at the intersection of at West 10th Avenue and Inca Street on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Police say multiple witnesses reported a man was waving a gun around and making threats. Officers arrived nine minutes later.
“When they saw him, he was standing in front of a vehicle that was parked eastbound on the south curb line. The subject was standing directly in front of that vehicle, he had his right arm raised and had a hand gun pointing directly at two occupants that were in the vehicle,” Matt Clark with DPD’s Major Crimes Unit said.
“The subject turned his attention towards the officers, who were to his east, and he began walking towards them with his right arm extended and a handgun pointed at the officers,” Clark said. “This gave an opportunity for the two individuals in the black vehicle that was parked to flee.”
“As the subject continued walking towards the officers with the handgun pointed the officers feared for their safety,” said Clark. Clark showed an image captured by a surveillance camera that appeared to show Black Bear holding a gun, with his right arm extended towards officers.
“The subject had previously disregarded their commands. The officers both discharged their weapons and struck the suspect.”
Black Bear was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
“The handgun that was recovered was an Airsoft gun, it’s a Glock 17 replica, it’s stamped with Glock insignia. It looks exactly like a functioning Glock 17 handgun would appear,” Clark said.
Clark said both people in the black vehicle believed it was a real firearm and said the suspect was trying to steal their car.
The two officers involved in this incident were both uniformed officers driving an unmarked police SUV and neither officer has been involved in a prior police shooting incident, Clark said.
Both officers will be on a modified duty status, per standard protocol.
The shooting investigation is being conducted by the Denver and Aurora police departments, as well as the Denver District Attorney’s Office.