A police chase in Denver on Sunday, June 18 turned into a climactic shooting involving an officer in Aurora.
The suspect was described by law enforcement officials as a man in his 30s, and he was eventually identified as Keith A. Roberts. He was shot by Denver Police around Alameda Parkway and East Ohio Drive in east Aurora. The officers involved in the shooting were unharmed, and Roberts was arrested upon his hospital release.
The incident started when the Denver Police Department responded to a call about felony menacing that involved a gun.
Not long after, police located a vehicle that matched the suspect’s description, but the vehicle sped off onto I-70 when the officers tried to make a traffic stop. Under normal circumstances, aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% in the city. Of course, police chases involve an entirely different type of aggressive driving, and these pursuits can be dangerous for suspects, police, and any civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time.
At one point during the chase, Roberts allegedly pointed a gun at the officers, prompting them to fire their own weapons.
“The gray car hit the corner and we looked and heard the t-bone (crash), and then immediately after that, (we heard) ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.’ They just started shooting. We jumped on the ground,” shooting witness LaTha Grant told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “They shot so much that they shot their own car up.”
Recent national statistics show nearly eight out of 10 auto glass replacements fail to be installed properly and safely, and considering that there are a number of bullet holes in both vehicles, this already unfortunate incident could’ve ended much worse.
“I’m not saying it was a racial thing, but it was a wrongful thing,” said Wesley Taylor, whose family is familiar with the suspect. “There were also kids playing in this parking lot that saw that in broad daylight. And the police didn’t even hesitate to stop,” he said.
This incident begs the question as to whether or not more police cruisers should be equipped with dashboard cameras. In 2000, only 3,400 (11%) of state police and highway patrol vehicles had in-car dash cameras. Today, it is estimated that about 72% of all state patrol vehicles utilize in-car video systems. Still, there are still many law enforcement vehicles without them, and dash cam footage can serve as exceedingly useful evidence in cases like this.
“They pulled an AR-15 out of the back seat of the car,” said Sharron Collins, another witness. “He was not holding the gun at the time (of the shooting). I feel like there was a better way that they could have disarmed that guy.”
As of now, Roberts has been booked into the Aurora Detention Center. He faces multiple charges, including possession of a weapon by a previous offender, felony menacing with a deadly weapon, felony vehicular eluding, and warrant for felony drugs out of Denver County. He may also face additional charges as the investigation unfolds.