GLENDALE, Colo. (CBS4) – The Denver District Attorney’s Office has completed its investigation into the fatal shooting of John Pacheaco Jr. in Glendale on Oct. 31, 2020. It has determined the two Glendale police officer’s actions were legally justified.
Pacheaco, 36, was behind the wheel of a Dodge pickup truck which had been reported stolen that night. The truck was stopped on northbound Colorado Boulevard near Alameda Avenue about 10 p.m.
Police responded to do a “wellness check” as the vehicle was stopped in traffic. Police said Pacheaco was initially unresponsive. But video obtained last year by CBS4 shows the truck suddenly lurch forward several feet, then go into reverse before it hit a Glendale police vehicle.
“Mr. Pacheaco was stopped in a traffic lane blocking traffic on South Colorado Boulevard. When officers tried to speak with Mr. Pacheaco, he unexpectedly put the truck in reverse as an officer was running behind the truck, clipping the officer and almost pinning him between the truck and a police car when these officers discharged their firearms. At the moment they shot Mr. Pacheaco, these officers reasonably believed that their fellow officers were in danger of being killed or receiving serious bodily injury,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a prepared statement.
There are no indications Pacheaco was armed. He died soon after the shooting.
Attorneys for Pacheaco’s mother Jamie Fowler took issue with one specific part of the the DA’s decision.
“The Denver District Attorney’s decision is regrettable as it does not appear to take into consideration all of the available evidence. In particular, it is apparent that the full range of available audio and video evidence was not considered or properly analyzed. Ultimately, the decision to not charge Glendale PD Officers Phillips and McCormick appears to be based almost entirely on a single report by one of the shooting officers who was interviewed over a month after fact — claiming that he was “bumped” or “clipped” by the vehicle operated by Mr. Pacheaco. However, none of the multiple videos of the incident – which were provided to District Attorney McCann’s office – substantiate the officer’s allegation that he was hit by Mr. Pacheaco’s vehicle. In fact, what they show is that the officers had safely cleared Mr. Pacheaco’s vehicle and were no longer in danger when they fired a dozen shots into the vehicle. Further, there were no documented physical injuries reported by the officer or DPD contemporaneous to the shooting, nor were any such reports made during the street side press conference thereafter.”
Earlier this year, Fowler sent a legal notice that she may sue the Glendale Police Department, the city and the officers involved for as much as $20 million, saying officers acted recklessly and unreasonably.