Two Northglenn police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing for shooting and wounding a retired Denver Police Department officer last year following a nearly six-month Adams County Critical Incident Team investigation.
Adams County District Attorney Dave Young said Officers Laura Sanchez and Dan Danielson “were justified in their use of physical force and deadly physical force” on Allen McEwen during a suicide response call to his home in a March 6 letter addressed to Police Chief James S. May Jr.
According to the letter, the incident began around 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2012, after McEwen called 911, saying “he had a gun, was placing it inside his mouth and wanted to kill himself.”
According to the letter, McEwen, a former police academy instructor, had made a similar call to the Northglenn Police Department in January 2011. In that case, officers resolved the situation without further incident.
A total of 12 officers were dispatched to McEwen’s home at 945 E. 108th Ave., where arriving officers heard gunshots coming from inside the home. Officer Michael Digiovanni then called McEwen and attempted to coax McEwen out of his house for about two-and-a-half hours.
McEwen told Digiovanni during that time that “he wanted officers to shoot him,” according to the letter.
McEwen later stuck his hand out of the front door of his home at around 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 19 and fired his gun three times striking the ground, a nearby tree and a police-marked SUV next to waiting officers. McEwen then opened the front door and walked outside with a gun in his hand.
After refusing several police commands to drop his weapon, Danielson and Sanchez fired a total of four gunshots at McEwen, who was handcuffed by police officers after falling to the ground. McEwen was then transported to Denver Health Medical Center, where he later recovered from his injuries.
The Adams County Critical Investigation team concluded Danielson and Sanchez were justified in shooting McEwen because he endangered the lives of responding officers by shooting at them from his front door and continually refused commands to drop his weapon after exiting his home.
“Mr. McEwen is a retired Denver police officer who was well aware of the consequences of coming out of the house with a weapon, pointing at police officers and shooting at police officers,” the letter stated.
Northglenn police spokesman Sgt. Ron Haralson said the two officers were placed on administrative leave following incident but have since returned to duty.
“I think the decision was kind of what we expected,” Haralson said. “Everybody did their job the best way possible considering the circumstances.”