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.

Antonio Black Bear (credit: Black Bear family)

The shooting happened at the intersection of at West 10th Avenue and Inca Street on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

(credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: Denver Police)

“The subject had previously disregarded their commands. The officers both discharged their weapons and struck the suspect.”

(credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: Denver Police)

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.

Anica Padilla

Comments (2)
  1. Robert Gift says:

    How sad.
    Suicide by cop?
    Otherwise, why have hands on a weapon or what appears a weapon?
    Why disregard a lawful order from a police officer?
    Complyvith orders from a police officer immediately.
    If you disagree withe orders, a judge will hear your disagreements.

  2. TomTancredoFan says:

    This is outrageous! The police should have detected and determined the type of plastic polymer of the fake Glock and the way its lighter weight would have affected the slightly quicker movements of the wrist. Also, they should have deduced that he’s Native American and under the never ending duress and victim hood of the horrors of Manifest Destiny. Finally, they should have aimed at the leg, skillfully avoiding any large arteries but hitting an area that would render a temporary immobilization. All this in just a split second. Anything less is murder.

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