Denver police officer fired at suspect in November shooting in self-defense, DA concludes

A man shot three times in an exchange of gunfire with a Denver police officer in November hid for two days in an Aurora house without seeking treatment for his wounds before he was taken into a custody after a standoff.

Still, Denver Police Department Officer Mark Hillers was justified in shooting Mauricio Venzor-Gonzalez because Venzor-Gonzalez fired his gun at the officer first, according to a letter from Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. Hillers has been a Denver police officer since 2015.

“Under these dangerous circumstances, Officer Hillers was forced to make a split-second decision, and his decision to shoot Mr. Venzor-Gonzalez in self-defense was justified under Colorado law,” McCann wrote to Denver police Chief Robert White.

Hillers had started chasing Venzor-Gonzalez, 23, after a Nov. 25 traffic stop in the area of West Alameda Avenue and South Stuart Street. The car had tried to elude officers, but the driver crashed into a parked car at South Stuart Street and West Cedar Avenue, according to McCann’s letter.

The driver stayed at the scene, but Venzor-Gonzalez fled with Hillers in pursuit. During the chase, Venzor-Gonzalez threw his cell phone and reached into his waistband, the letter said. He then “stopped, turned and fired his handgun at Officer Hillers,” the letter said. Hillers did not have a place to hide from the gunfire.

Hillers dropped to the ground, pulled his gun from his holster and returned fire, the letter said. Venzor-Gonzalez ran and Hillers chased him again. After running another block, Venzor-Gonzalez fired again, and Hillers returned fire, the letter said.

Venzor-Gonzalez kept running and escaped from police.

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Source:: The Denver Post

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